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Confusion looms over succession for Evergreen

Confusion looms over succession for Evergreen
The passing of Chang Yung-fa, founder of Taiwan’s conglomerate Evergreen Group, has now left his empire facing a succession battle as his sons locked horns to gain control of the group.

In a statement released to the Taiwan Stock Exchange late last week, Evergreen wrote that Chang Kuo-wei, the youngest son, has been named as chairman, giving him control over the TWD400bn ($12bn) conglomerate.

But matters took a turn earlier this week when Kuo-wei’s elder brothers called an emergency meeting in a bid to dissolve the management and call for Kuo-wei to relinquish his position as chairman, local media reported.

Kuo-wei is currently the chairman of Eva Airways Corp, while his three elder brothers including Chang Kuo-hua hold sizable stakes in Evergreen Marine Corp, the group’s flagship company.

Kuo-wei’s three elder brothers own 34.7% stake in Evergreen Marine and 54.56% stake in Evergreen International Storage & Transportation Corp. This compares to Kuo-wei’s respective stakes of 6.83% and 2.3%, according to Evergreen Group.

It remains unclear how the succession feud will shape out, as Kuo-hua and his two brothers who hold the majority of shares in the group could strip Kuo-wei of his authority as chairman.

Kuo-wei is the only child from Yung-fa’s second wife, while the three elder sons are from the first wife.

Evergreen Group’s listed units – Evergreen International Storage & Transportation Corp, Eva Airways, and Evergreen Marine – have filed separate statements to the stock exchange maintaining that their operations are being carried out as per normal.

Yung-fa, born in 1927, passed away on 20 January. He was ranked by Forbes as the world’s 17th richest man in 2015 with a wealth of $1.6bn.