K Line boss sweats on his job prospects

K Line boss sweats on his job prospects

In just over three weeks Eizo Murakami, the boss of one of the world’s largest shipping lines, will learn of his fate as disgruntled investors gather for Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha’s (K Line) annual shareholder meeting.

Murakami is presiding over the most shorted stock on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average, with K Line struggling to make profits.

At last year’s AGM just 57% voted to maintain Murakami in the top position at Japan’s third largest line.

The shareholders’ revolt was led last year by Effissimo Capital Management, the company’s largest shareholder. Murakami assumed the positions of president and CEO at K Line on April 1 in 2015.

Worryingly for Murakami since the last AGM Effissimo has grown its shareholding in K Line by nearly 10% from the 29.7% it held this time last year. Effissimo however refuses to be drawn how it will vote on June 23.

Effissimo Capital Management, established in Singapore by ex-colleagues of activist investor Yoshiaki Murakami, has become the top shareholder in the line as well as in other well known Japanese brands such as office equipment maker Ricoh. Its strategy has been to target Japanese firms it deems undervalued.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Carlos Allimant
    June 1, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    I know Murakami-san (Eizo) for years, a great executive appointed to the job by the legendary Maekawa-san. Some financial investors are looking for high returns in a short period of time, but shipping requires a long term commitment. My support to Murakami-san in these sour days.