Hanmi family feud reaches peak ahead of vote showdown for merger with OCI

Hanmi Science Vice Chairwoman Lim Ju-hyun speaks during a press conference at the company headquarters in Seoul, Monday. Yonhap

The Hanmi Pharmaceutical Group chairwoman and her daughter, who seek to merge the drug developer with OCI Group, a local chemical company, were neck and neck with their opponents, led by the chairwoman’s two sons, until moments before Thursday’s merger showdown, according to industry officials, Wednesday.Up until Wednesday, the two women and their supporters collectively held a 42.66 percent stake in Hanmi Science, the pharmaceutical firm’s holding company, while their opponents owned a 40.57 percent stake. As a result, minority shareholders with a combined 21 percent stake have been allowed to determine the fate of the merger at the annual general meeting of shareholders on Thursday.The family feud broke out after Hanmi and OCI announced in January that they would merge via OCI Holdings’s acquisition of a 27 percent stake in Hanmi Science and the Hanmi owner family’s acquisition of a 10.4 percent stake in the holding company of OCI Group. Both business groups explained at that time that their merger would enhance their competitiveness in the global health care market.

However, Hanmi Chairwoman Song Young-sook’s two sons – Lim Jong-yoon and Jong-hoon – opposed their mother, who is the wife of late founder Lim Sung-ki, who died in 2020. The Lim brothers, both of whom were dismissed on Monday from their posts as Hanmi Pharmaceutical presidents, even took legal action to put the brakes on the planned merger.Amid the intensifying dispute, proxy advisers here and overseas were divided about whether Hanmi Science’s shareholders should support director nominees recommended by the chairwoman or those recommended by her sons.

Until last Saturday, the brothers were expected to defeat their mother and sister, as they won support from Hanyang Precision CEO Shin Dong-kuk, the late founder’s friend who holds a 12.25 percent stake in Hanmi Science.On Tuesday, however, the Suwon District Court rejected an injunction request filed by the Lim brothers to prevent Hanmi Science from issuing new shares, which OCI Holdings will buy for the merger. The National Pension Service, which owns a 7.66 percent stake in Hanmi Science, also decided the same day to side with the chairwoman and her daughter, Lim Ju-hyun, who was promoted to Hanmi Science vice chairwoman from president on Wednesday.The Lim brothers appealed against the court decision and claimed that they had limited opportunities to convince shareholders. They also denied their mother’s claim that they have tried to sell their shares at higher prices to pay inheritance taxes, rather than protecting the pharmaceutical firm.However, the chairwoman emphasized that her daughter is the only successor to the late founder, claiming that her sons have refused to work together to raise money to pay inheritance 슬롯게이밍 taxes.

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