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SEOUL/SEONGNAM, South Korea, June 29 (Yonhap) — Hanwha Group completed its six-month-long procedures on Monday to buy Samsung Group’s four units as shareholders of Samsung Techwin Co. approved a proposed deal to be sold to the chemicals and finance conglomerate amid its workers’ strong protest.
Samsung Techwin’s shareholders gave the nod to drop “Samsung” from Samsung Techwin and its affiliate, Samsung Thales Co., and rename them each Hanwha Techwin Co. and Hanwha Thales Co.
In November, Samsung said it will sell its defense affiliate, Samsung Techwin, and chemical unit, then Samsung General Chemicals Co., to Hanwha, a conglomerate whose main businesses include defense and solar power.
Two other affiliates, Samsung Thales Co. and then Samsung Total, were also automatically included in the deal because they are half-owned by the companies being sold to Hanwha.
Samsung General Chemicals and Samsung Total Petrochemicals changed their names to Hanwha General Chemicals Co. and Hanwha Total Petrochemicals Co., respectively, in April, and became official affiliate of the country’s 10th-largest conglomerate.
The procedures for the remaining mergers, however, have been stalled due to strong protest from Samsung Techwin workers.
Earlier Monday, police said they arrested around 140 workers from Samsung Techwin who were protesting against the merger on charges of obstructing the firm’s shareholders meeting.
“The problem was that the workers learned about the sales through news reports,” a Samsung Techwin worker said. “We are protesting because we want to know why the company went through a merger without making any apologies to its workers.”
Samsung’s sales of its affiliates was widely seen as an effort to restructure its business portfolio as the country’s largest conglomerate is moving to prepare for a leadership shift from Lee Kun-hee, the de facto head of the group who has been hospitalized since May last year, to Lee Jay-yong, vice president of Samsung Electronics Co. and the only son of the tycoon.
His vacancy gave urgency to reviewing the group’s business strategy ahead of a managerial transfer, and focus on mainstay arms like Samsung Electronics Co., industry watchers said.
Samsung also announced earlier it will merge Samsung C&T Co., a construction and trade arm, with the de facto holding firm Cheil Industries Inc. to speed up such efforts.