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AIG annual meeting a short, relatively calm affair

AIG annual meeting a short, relatively calm affair

American International Group Inc.'s annual shareholder meeting ended without drama Tuesday after a handful of shareholders voiced disappointment over the embattled insurer's near-collapse last fall.
The meeting at the company's headquarters was relatively calm, and there was little outrage over the insurance giant's recent problems, in contrast to shareholder meetings this year for other financial firms that have relied on government support, such as Bank of America Corp. The meeting was also short, lasting less than an hour, well under Citigroup's six-hour gathering and four hours at Bank of America.
"I was expecting more of a crowd," said Kenneth Steiner of Great Neck, New York, who was one of about 80 shareholders other than employees in attendance. "With the stock as low as it is, I expected more from shareholders."
AIG shareholders have nearly been wiped out since the government provided the company with a lifeline last September at the height of the financial crisis. AIG was done in by underwriting risky financial derivative contracts, not its traditional insurance operations.
The government, which ultimately gave AIG a $182.5 billion bailout, now has an 79.9 percent stake in the insurer.
CEO Edward Liddy said the government may never relinquish its stake in the insurer.
"I can give you no assurances that it will ever change," Liddy said responding to a shareholder's question. He went on to say that a lower percentage of government ownership should increase the company's value.
AIG's share price has declined 89 percent since the government first bailed out the New York-based company in September. So far this year it has slid 15 percent.
AIG stock was down 16 cents, or 12 percent, at $1.17 in afternoon trading Tuesday.
During the meeting, Liddy reviewed AIG's plans to repay the loans it received from the government to help it remain in business.
Despite its near-collapse last September, Liddy said the insurer is "more stable than before."
"Repaying the government will happen," he said.
AIG is in the process of restructuring its business, shedding assets and cutting costs as part of a plan to repay the government.
On Tuesday it said it is selling the assets of a Taiwan-based subsidiary, AIG Credit Card Company (Taiwan) Ltd., to Far Eastern International Bank. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Last week, AIG said it was moving forward with plans to spin off two international life insurance subsidiaries, American International Assurance Co. and American Life Insurance Co.
All the company's proposals were approved during the meeting, except for one relating to the number of authorized shares; all shareholder proposals were rejected.
AIG had delayed its annual meeting, usually held in May, to give it more time to shuffle its board, which has been almost entirely reconstituted over the last year.
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Business Writer Stephen Bernard contributed to this story.


Updated : 2020-11-30 07:37 GMT+08:00