Samsung executives were embarrassed by the protests of minority shareholders at the General Shareholders' Meeting.
Samsung Electronics held its 50th General Shareholders' Meeting at the Multipurpose Hall on the 5th floor of its Seocho Building, Seoul, at 9:00 am on the 20th. On the day, more than 1,000 minority shareholders gathered to make the place crowded. Last year, Samsung Electronics did the stock split of 50 to 1. After the stock split, the number of shareholders increased 4 times to 760,000. The number of minority shareholders who visited the meeting place also increased sharply. Samsung Electronics doubled its seat capacity from 400 last year, but the congestion was inevitable. Many shareholders entered the place of the meeting after the start of the meeting because taking the elevators was also delayed.
One shareholder protested and said, "Despite the extreme levels of fine dust, I had to wait in line for an hour outside. Can’t a world-class enterprise do a better job?"
"We apologize for the inconvenience," said Kim Ki-Nam, vice chairman of the Device Solution (DS) division at Samsung Electronics. "We will invite our shareholders to a bigger facility next year." There was also a scene where the event staff handed out bread gift cards to the shareholders, who were angry and said, “We’re not beggars.” Samsung officials explained that the bread gift cards were pre-prepared gifts for the attendees.
There were also complaints about the falling stock price. Another shareholder said, "You did the stock split, which was worth 2.65 million won, to 53,000 won, and now it has dropped to 43,000 won. What are you doing? If the faults are on the executives, all should resign.” Some applauded on this remark.
There were also piercing questions on the business. When asked about “In addition to the rise of China's semiconductor makers, there is a question of the government's (memory) price fixing," VP Kim answered, “We will maintain our top competitiveness through continuous research and development (R&D), investment and customer service reinforcement."
In the field of consumer electronics (CE), the question was asked, "If you go to the US, you see a lot of TV brands on display, and Chinese companies seem to expand their market shares. I get the high-price strategy, but what about other products and the strategies?” Kim Hyun-Seok, President of Samsung Electronics' CE division, failed to give a clear answer. President Kim said, "We have the premium market, and we are responding with technological differentiation, recognizing that China is advancing worldwide for the low-end market."
In the IT & Mobile (IM) sector, an attendee asked, "You would know well why the United States is wary of Huawei. We are not happy to hear that Huawei is beating Samsung in the 5G communication equipment market." For this question, Ko Dong-jin, head of IM division (President), answered, "Samsung Electronics is the only company that has the equipment, terminals, and chipsets in the 5G sector. And we are preparing thoroughly and internally.” He also added, "In China, the last two years have been difficult, but the consumer reaction for the new S10 and A series is good. In India, we maintain an unparalleled top position, and in the United States, we will get the results by steadily responding with premium and low-end models."
On the day of the meeting on the agenda, there were: ▲approval of financial statements, ▲ the appointment of directors, and ▲approval of remuneration limitation for directors. The agenda was somewhat controversial, but all passed as the original drafts. The dividend has been set at 354 won for the year-end dividend common stocks and 355 won for the preferred stocks. The dividend date is December 31, 2018. As an outside director, Park Jae-Wan, Professor of Public Administration at Sungkyunkwan University, was reelected. Kim Han-Ho, chairman of the Hana Financial Sharing Foundation, and Professor An Kyu-Ri of the Seoul National University College of Medicine were newly elected. The company also changed the members of the Audit Committee due to the change of outside directors. Park Jae-Wan and Kim Han-Jo outside directors were elected as members of the Audit Committee. The directors' remuneration limitation was set at 46.5 billion won, the same level as last year. The actual remuneration paid last year totaled 21.3 billion won.
Kim Ki-Nam, vice chairman of the company, said, "Despite the record-high earnings, the share price did not meet expectations due to the US interest rate hike and US trade disputes. We will do our best to raise the stock price as much as possible this year based on the sturdy earnings."
The general shareholders' meeting lasted three hours. The company posted an official apology on its homepage titled, "We would like to apologize to Samsung Electronics shareholders”, in relation to the media reports regarding the inconveniences during the meeting.