Companies prone to take more shareholder-friendly policies

 A notice on the 60th annual general meeting of Namyang Dairy Products, a KOSPI-listed company, is seen outside the main entrance of the firm's headquarters in southern Seoul, March 29. Yonhap

A lower number of proposals were made by shareholders and added to the agenda during the general meetings of listed companies this year, research released Monday showed.The meetings took place mostly in March.The research carried out by the Korea ESG Research Institute attributed the decline in the number of proposals to listed firms’ efforts to settle contested issues amicably with shareholders through dialogue outside the meetings.The research noted that the contested issues were mostly put up to a vote under a hostile environment at the meetings.Of the 4,528 items addressed by 689 listed companies this year, those based on proposals from shareholders totaled 52.The 2024 figure was down from 72 in 2022.In particular, only five of the 52 were related to demands for a dividend hikes, a common interest among shareholders.In 2023, 14 items dealt with such demands.

“It can be said the management are trying to be shareholder-friendly by dealing with the demands for higher dividends through dialogue,” the institute wrote. “This practice is an improvement as management used to go head-to-head with shareholders through a vote.”The institute pointed out that activist funds are complying with management’s calls for dialogue after they failed to woo retail investors at the general meetings.Activist funds have been noted for increasing pressure on listed firms to enhance shareholders’ voting rights, especially in line with the government’s Corporate Value-up Program aimed at improving corporate governance and ensuring higher shareholder returns.As part of efforts for higher returns, the listed companies increasingly retired treasury stocks, the institute said.Some 9.8 percent of the 689 surveyed companies retired treasury stocks before hosting their general meetings this year. The figure more than doubled from 2023.“We welcome the listed firms’ moves to improve governance structure under the Corporate Value-up Program,” 슬롯놀이터 the institute said.

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