Shareholders Move to Ditch Directors
(Akron/Tire Review) According to a report by Queensland Newspapers, Bridgestone Australia shareholders failed in a bid to oust members of the company’s board of directors at the firm’s annual meeting 9 May. Meanwhile, Bridgestone Australia chairman and CEO Makio Ohashi told shareholders that the financial situation wasn’t going to get better, warning of continued lower profits because of escalating raw materials costs and competition from imports.
“We have announced it will be even tougher than last year…demand for raw materials, largely from China, has been going crazy over the past two years,” said Ohashi, who indicated that prices for steel and natural and synthetic rubber will likely rise again soon.
Bridgestone Australia is 60 per cent owned by Bridgestone Corp, and is publicly traded on the Australian Stock Exchange. Company shares have dropped from a 2005 high of $3.69 (Australian dollar) to yesterday’s close of $2.55.
At the annual meeting, minority shareholder and former company director John Spalvins petitioned the board to loosen its ties with Bridgestone Corp. and appoint at least one other independent director. “It is eight years since Bridgestone Australia earned an acceptable return on equity, namely 13.7 per cent in 1996,” Mr Spalvins said. “In the past 2004 year, it was down to 6.5 per cent.”
Other individual shareholders and representatives of investment groups also expressed concern over the company’s performance. Still, when it came to a vote, shareholders reinstated Mr Ohashi and the other directors up for re-election.