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Samsung Electronics shareholders clear stock split; execs caution on outlook

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. shareholders approved a stock split as the company's executives said they expect uncertainties in trade and in its organic light-emitting diode panel business in 2018, Reuters reported.

Shareholders approved the 50:1 stock split announced in January, and the appointment of new directors at the annual general meeting on March 23. The company said the split would add "add both liquidity and marketability to the company's stock."

Speaking at the meeting, outgoing chairman Kwon Oh-hyun said that "in a broad sense, we expect uncertainties such as trade protectionism and geopolitical risks to persist throughout the year, and the paradigm in the IT industry to keep shifting."

Co-CEO Kinam Kim, who heads the device solutions division, anticipates higher demand for value-added memory chips handling large data in 2018, but warned of greater uncertainty in the organic light-emitting diode panel business, citing stiffer competition.

DJ Koh, the co-CEO who heads the IT & Mobile division, foresees the slowdown in mobile market growth to intensify competition in 2018, creating a tougher environment. He added that the company's mobile business needs more time to recover in China following a sales network reorganization last year.

Samsung Electronics' share of the Chinese smartphone market — the world's largest — slipped below 10% over the past year. The company is South Korea's biggest exporter with $134.7 billion in export sales in 2017, Reuters reported.