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Korean conglomerates to hold shareholders meeting despite COVID-19

Attendees line up for Samsung Electronics' shareholders meeting in 2019. (Yonhap)
Attendees line up for Samsung Electronics' shareholders meeting in 2019. (Yonhap)

A total of 314 South Korean companies, including Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and SK hynix, will hold shareholders meetings this week. The companies have rolled out measures to counter concerns over potential spread of the coronavirus at the meetings.

Samsung Electronics’ annual shareholders meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at Suwon Convention Center in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, with around 2,000 seats available.

Samsung Electronics previously asked shareholders to make extensive use of online voting to avoid potential the spread of the coronavirus. The company added that it will prepare thermal screening measures for all shareholders coming to the meeting. Shareholders who plan to join the meetings of Samsung Electronics and other Samsung Electronics’ affiliates should wear masks, the company also noted.

Last year, around 1,000 shareholders -- about 200 more than the arranged seats -- joined the shareholders meeting held at the company’s Seocho-dong office in Gangnam, Seoul, causing confusion. It was the first shareholders meeting after Samsung Electronics’ major stock split in 2018.

According to Korea Securities Depository, the number of shareholders of Samsung Electronics marked 610,274 as of end-2019.

On Wednesday, Samsung Electronics will open votes on the financial statements for last year, as well as reappointments of two board directors: Han Jong-hee, president of Samsung Electronics Co.’s visual display business, and Choi Yoon-ho, president of the business support task force team.

On Thursday, Hyundai Motor will hold a shareholders meeting through which it will reelect Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun as a board member for another three years. The automobile giant could also push ahead to appoint Chung as the chairman of the board of directors, according to industry sources.

The board of directors of the motor company in January decided not to reappoint Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo as a member. His term is expired as of Monday.

Chung Mong-koo has been serving as chairman of the Hyundai Motor board for 22 years, but he began taking a back seat in 2018.

Hyundai Motor said it has opened online voting for shareholders.

On Friday, 205 companies, including SK hynix, LG Chem, LG Uplus and Samsung Biologics, are to hold their shareholders meetings.

SK hynix is going to hold its shareholders meeting at its headquarters in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, where it will reappoint its board directors. If approved, SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho and SK hynix CEO Lee Seok-Hee will serve as members of the board for additional three-year terms.

To prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, the company said it will increase the distance between shareholders’ seats to 2 meters to minimize physical contact.

SK Telecom, which holds its shareholders meeting on March 26, announced Sunday that it will conduct the entire meeting online. Shareholders who want to vote on the meeting agenda are required to register for online voting two days prior to the meeting.

By Shim Woo-hyun (