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A management dispute broke out between the father and the son at Samyoung Science, the ‘first Korea’ chemical company. The conflict between the founder, Honorary Chairman Lee Jong-hwan (99) and his eldest son, Lee Seok-joon (69), seems to be heading towards a ‘head-to-head confrontation’. Honorary Chairman Lee is the person who created Asia’s largest scholarship foundation (Kwanjeong Lee Jong-hwan Education Foundation) with a donation of more than 1 trillion won. His son, CEO Lee, is the largest shareholder with a 21.46% stake in Samyoung Science.
After meeting with Maeil Business News on the 16th, honorary chairman Lee (99) issued an ultimatum to Lee, saying, “If we do not conduct business in the right way, we will face litigation between the father and son or even a dispute over management rights.” He warned, “CEO Lee is misleading the market by clinging to unrealistic management goals and hiding the failure of new technology development.” If CEO Lee does not accept his advice, the position of honorary chairman Lee is that he will not only file civil and criminal lawsuits within this month but also work with institutional investors to introduce professional managers.
On the other hand, Samyounghak plans to take resolute legal action, arguing that this absurd offensive by the honorary chairman is nothing more than a tactic to take over the management rights of Samyoung Heavy Industries. On the 19th, a Samyoung Science official said, “There is a shareholders’ meeting of Samyoung Heavy Industries, a subsidiary of Samyoung Heavy Industries, on the 23rd, and the honorary chairman Lee is spreading false and slanderous information in order to maintain management right here. They are showing behavior that goes beyond the limit.”
Samyoung Heavy Industries, which manufactures plant and engine parts for ships, is the largest shareholder with a 37.5% stake in Samyoung Heavy Industries, and CEO Lee of Samyounghak is the second-largest shareholder with 36.25%. Honorary Chairman Lee and Kwanjeong Lee Jong-hwan Education Foundation own 22.5% and 3.75%, respectively. Honorary Chairman Lee, with the exception of Samyoung Heavy Industries, has disposed of all his shares and is still managing Samyoung Heavy Industries directly or indirectly. If there is no dramatic agreement between the father and son, the two sides will have a vote at Samyoung Heavy Industries & Construction, and then the flames of a dispute over management rights could spread to Samyoung Science, the parent company.
Honorary Chairman Lee met with Maeil Business and pointed out the faults of the current management of Samyoung Hak. He said, “Samyoung Science has been pushed into a credibility crisis as it failed to develop ultra-thin film for electric vehicles and was rejected from the government support project for eco-friendly packaging wraps. It actually failed due to poor development capabilities and lack of funding.”
Samyoung Chemical, which became Korea’s first petrochemical company by producing CPP film, a synthetic resin, in 1959, is currently developing a 2.3μ (micron) ultra-thin capacitor film for electric and hydrogen vehicles, recognized as a government support project. Global chemical companies including Samyoung Chemical can currently produce 3μ-grade films, but Japan’s Toray is exclusively mass-producing 2.3μ films. CEO Seok-Jun Lee decided to invest 27 billion won last month to expand capacitor film production facilities to compete with Toray.
Honorary Chairman Lee claims that the management does not recognize this even though the development of the 2.3μ level film has actually failed. The deposition process is essential to produce capacitor films, and the reason is that major domestic film deposition companies have already made a ‘no’ decision on Samyoung’s prototype. However, an official from Samyoung Science said, “In the case of ultra-thin capacitor film for electric vehicles, we are conducting related tests with company A and are showing positive results that exceed the test results required by the industry.” I hope we can,” he said.
The two sides are also divided on the government support project for eco-friendly packaging wraps. The honorary chairman Lee claims, “Even though Samyoung Science was rejected from the government’s final procedure for technology development support in May, it is hiding this fact.” On the other hand, Samyoung Sciences said, “The eco-friendly packaging PO lab has already been selected as a government-supported project, and other R&D projects are in progress.” The exhibit received favorable reviews, and the government-supported project is scheduled to end in December of this year as scheduled.”
The Kwanjeong Lee Jong-hwan Education Foundation, which was established by donating 97% of his fortune, also completely excludes the involvement of children. Honorary Chairman Lee recently wrote and notarized a special will, stating, ‘The testator’s direct descendants must not be involved as executives and employees of the foundation’.
The honorary chairman Lee said, “As the founder, I couldn’t wait to see the company that was led by Jeong-Do management go bankrupt, so I stepped in.” He said, “We are taking various emergency measures, such as a civil lawsuit against CEO Lee and replacement of the management team with a friendly stake.” said. These include a lawsuit for the return of Samyoung Science stock, which was trusted to the eldest son under a borrowed name, and a lawsuit to recover tens of billions of won in private loans.
[전범주 기자 / 안병준 기자]
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