Evergreen International Corp., a corporate shareholder (4.96%) in Evergreen Marine Corp., one of the world’s largest container shipping companies, today requested EMC shareholders vote against a proposed capital reduction by cash refund.
The request took place at the 2022 annual general meeting of Evergreen Marine Corp. Evergreen International Corp., appointed lawyer Chu-chun Wu to represent the company on this issue.
According to Evergreen International Corp., and attorney Wu, all shareholders, regardless of major or minor, are the real owners of a company. When the company earns money, it should pay dividends to reward shareholders for their support. If Evergreen Marine Corporation believed that it had sufficient capital at the moment and intended to buy back stocks, it shall do so in the form of “treasury stocks;” that is, the company shall use its own capital to buy back outstanding shares on the open market.
This is how a company truly takes care of its shareholders, allowing them to reserve the right to decide what to do with their shares, rather than the unprecedented method of reducing 60% of capital and refunding TWD 6 per share (.20 cents US) to shareholders. On surface, it looks as though the company is giving out money to its shareholders, but actually it is detrimental to shareholders’ interests although they are getting their rightful money back; especially to those minor shareholders, a 60% capital reduction only brings “inconveniences and troubles.” said Mr. Wu for EIC.
According to “Table for Spread of Shareholdings under TDCC Custody,” there are approximately 260,000 minor shareholders presently possessing one to five lots of Evergreen Marine Corporation stocks; together, they own 516,000 shares, meaning that each shareholder averages only 1.98 lots of stocks. Once the capital is reduced by 60%, even the most conservative estimation shows that more than 130,000 shareholders will likely possess less than one lot (1,000 shares), a detrimental situation for them to trade in the stock market or exercise their rights.
As a responsible shareholder, Evergreen International Corp. points out that this capital reduction by cash refund proposal stirs up the suspicion of Evergreen Marine Corporation’s management team seeking profit for major shareholders, which, it says, is inappropriate. According to “Public Announcement of the Guidelines Governing the Book Building of Evergreen Marine Corporation’s Fourth Domestic Unsecured Convertible Bonds by Underwriters including SinoPac Securities,” Evergreen Marine Corporation made the decision to raise funds in May 2021 despite enjoying outstanding performance and expecting significant profit; yet in 2022, the company decided to make cash refund to shareholders for capital reduction. Is it possible that major shareholders, which have purchased Evergreen Marine Corporation’s convertible bonds, can take advantage of this opportunity and make significant profit from getting their cash back without paying any tax. Later on, is it possible for them to obtain shares through convertible bonds, and thus increase their numbers of stocks for greater shares of the profit that originally belonged to all shareholders? According to the data of “Table for Spread of Shareholdings under TDCC Custody,” the number of major shareholders currently in possession of over 1,000 lots of Evergreen Marine Corporation’s shares has increased significantly, holding nearly 60% of all shares. Considering that there are convertible bonds, the management team’s plan to reduce capital is truly confusing and suspicious., said attorney Wu for EIC.
Evergreen International Corp. has also requested Evergreen Marine Corporation’s professional management team to give a clear explanation on future financial plans to concretely realize a public listed company’s business objectives of generating profit and taking care of employees and shareholders; especially, asking that the company not have hidden agendas against the interests of its shareholders, due to disagreements over management rights. Currently, there are some companies manipulating financial operations such as capital reduction and increase, private equity, and stock conversion, for specific major shareholders, an original management team, or other parties vying for management rights, to gain greater control over the company and higher sharing ratio; however, such actions are undoubtedly detrimental to the rights of minor shareholders, because the share price might increase after capital reduction, and common shareholders are not as capable of subscribing again or purchasing shares in the market, thus benefiting major shareholders and other parties with high asset capabilities.
Aiming to safeguard the interests of all shareholders, having the above-mentioned concerns regarding the proposed capital reduction, and hoping that there would be no improper financial operations, Evergreen International Corp., as a responsible shareholder, seeks the support of all shareholders and calls upon them to vote against the capital reduction proposal at the 2022 annual general meeting of Evergreen Marine Corp. in order to protect shareholders, is being held at No. 11, Zhongshan S. Road, Taipei City (10F Meeting Room, Chang Yung-Fa Foundation International Convention Center) at 9:00 a.m. on May 30, 2022.
Source: Hellenic Shipping News