[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics said on March 14 it is reviewing a holding company system as part of its corporate restructuring despite Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong's detention last month on charges of bribery.
“We will announce the results of the review as planned,” the company’s President and CFO Lee Sang-hoon told reporters in Seoul, calling the issue “a promise to shareholders.”
“We are considering holding a conference call for shareholders around the world but nothing has been decided.”
His comments come after the Korean tech giant said it would review a set of shareholder-friendly policies, including splitting itself into holding and operating firms and the latter’s NASDAQ listing, on Nov. 29 last year. At the time, Lee said the review process could take about six months.
Following the announcement, industry sources have predicted that the tentative results could come in May. But uncertainties have been growing about the split-off plans as the nation’s largest company is suspected of being involved in a corruption scandal leading to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye last week.
Samsung heir Lee was indicted in February for allegedly ordering his aides to offer billions of won to dubious foundations controlled by Choi Soon-sil, Park’s jailed friend. Four other senior executives were indicted on bribery charges.
Samsung investors have pressured the company to streamline its organizational structure and share more profits with them. Creating a holding company is expected to improve transparency in the ownership structure and to boost Lee and other family members’ control over Samsung affiliates.
Lee, together with his father, the ailing Samsung patriarch Lee Kun-hee, owns less than 4 percent stake in the company. The combined favorable stake, including those owned by other Samsung companies, is estimated to be about 18 percent.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)