What to expect from Samsung’s shareholders’ meeting

What to expect from Samsung's shareholders' meeting

Samsung shareholders arrive at the Suwon Convention Center in Gyeonggi province to attend an annual general meeting in this file photo dated March 17, 2021. (Bloomberg)

Samsung Electronics will hold an annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, amid mounting complaints over performance issues with its latest Galaxy phones and falling stock prices that haven’t reflected the world’s top smartphone and chip maker’s strong earnings .

The key agenda for the next meeting is the appointment of four chairmen, including Kyung Kye-hyun, co-CEO and head of chip business, and Roh Tae-moon, head of mobile business, as new members of the internal board of directors.

Industry watchers say the proposal is very likely to be approved by a majority vote, but particular attention is being paid to the approval rate as National Pension Services, a major investor, leaves hear that he will vote against the nominees for the board of directors.

On Sunday, the NPS said it would veto Kyung, the former CEO of Samsung Electro-Mechanics, and Park Hak-kyu, president of executive support, from joining the conference room. from Samsung.

The pension fund cited Kyung and Park’s history of “undermining company values ​​and shareholder rights” as the reason for the move, without giving further details.

The NPS also said it would vote against two candidates for outside seats on the board – Kim Han-jo, chairman of the Hana Financial Foundation, and Kim Jong-hoon, CEO of Kiswe, a video technology startup – citing their negligence on activities harming shareholders. rights.

The proxy battle would not be severe, given the 8.53% voting rights of the NPS, against 21.15% stake in favor of the management, including 8.75% held by Samsung Life Insurance, the main shareholder .

Other key shareholders holding more than 5% of the shares include BlackRock with 5.03% and Samsung C&T with 5.01%. Meanwhile, minority shareholders hold a combined 65.71% stake.

“The NPS veto may have a limited impact on the outcome of the vote, but could affect shareholder sentiments overall, piling up pressure on Samsung’s top brass,” Oh Il-sun, director of chaebol tracker Korea CXO Research Institute.

“At a time when Samsung faces internal and external risks, shareholders are likely to call on management to come up with countermeasures.”

Some minority shareholders are also joining forces to vote against Roh for his mishandling of the latest scandal surrounding gaming optimization service software installed in Samsung’s latest flagship Galaxy S22 phones, threatening to file a class action lawsuit.

The software, more widely known as GOS, is activated automatically when users play games and adjusts smartphone performance to extend battery life and prevent overheating issues.

But controversy grew after it was discovered that the software was enabled for other resource-intensive apps, limiting the phone’s overall performance to just 53.9% of its promised performance, according to Geekbench, a global platform that measures and compares the performance of smartphones.

Samsung recently announced a software update to fix the problem, while the country’s antitrust watchdog launched an investigation to find out if there was a violation of advertising law in Samsung’s promotional activities.

During the annual meeting, which is both an in-person and online event, shareholders are also expected to demand answers to sensitive issues such as Samsung’s continued business in Russia as well as the GOS scandal.

Samsung, which recently suspended shipments to Russia, remains mum on its exit plans amid calls for action against the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Samsung’s revenue in Russia is about 4 trillion won ($3.2 billion), less than 2% of its total revenue worldwide. But the region is one of the company’s strategically important markets, where Samsung’s Galaxy phones account for 34% of smartphone sales.

Faced with internal and external pressures, Samsung’s stock price is currently suffering losses, hovering around 70,000 won. Compared to a year ago, when the price hit an all-time high of 91,000 won, the stock is down nearly 30% of its value today.

On Monday, shares of Samsung closed at 70,200 won, up 0.29% from the previous trading day.

By Lee Ji-yoon ([email protected])