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Shareholders push for corporate reforms in South Korea

Samsung Electronics faced discontent among investors at its March 11 annual shareholders meeting.

SEOUL   South Korean investors fed up with sagging earnings and opaque management are making themselves heard at shareholders meetings, calling for corporate governance reforms to shine more light on family-run conglomerates, known as chaebol.

     The atmosphere at Samsung Electronics' annual general shareholders meeting on March 11 was far from the cheery norm. Investors grumbled at the company's financial report, upset by insufficient explanations and the lack of any apology for unimpressive earnings by the company's mobile phone division and other operations. Opposition to the traditional approval-by-applause for the appointment of directors forced a laborious vote count. Though all proposed measures were eventually approved, the process took three hours and 20 minutes, about twice as long as last year's meeting.

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