Rowe Furniture Corp.'s annual dividends dropped from 31 cents a share in 1974 to 8 cents a share in 1976. A story in Wednesday editions of The Washington Post included incorrect figures.
The bitter prexy fight for control of Rowe Furniture Corporation came to a swift end today with ratification by 99 per cent of the company's shareholders of a settlement reached April 29 between Rowe management and family members.
"And I'm glad it's over," confessed Rowe president Gerald M. Birnbach at the end of an unexpectedly quiet annual meeting which drew questions from only four stockholders.
Less than 15 minutes after the opening of the session, with stockholders owning 2,095,954 of the company's 2,375,941 voting shares present, the agreement was approvved. It provided for the election of Robert V. Mathison Sr., son-in-law of the company's founder, and Charles T. Rosen, a mutually acceptabel independent businessman, to the board of directors.
A further stipulation of the accord brought the resignation of director and general counsel Sidney J. Silver of the Washington law firm of Silver & Freedman, and an increase in the size of the board from five to six directors.
The proxy fight, porecipitated last fall by the death of the Rowe founder's wife and son, pitted andaughter, a daughter-in-law and their families against management - particularly president Birnbach.
At the heart of the dispute were the company's tailspin in profits and Birnbach's employment contract which provided for an $160,000 annual salary and an $18,000 sports car.
The settlement calls for a review of the termination provisions of Birnbach's employment contract by a "professional executive compensation firm or adviser to be selected by the Rowe board of directors." Recommendations will be submitted to the board after a thorough analysis, but will not touch on Birnbach's salary or benefits.
He added that the first quarter of 1977 was profitable, but warned stockholders not to expect a profitable second quarter because of the effects of the proxy battle on business.
He said retailers didn't know what was happening and that Rowe salesmen had to spend time explaining the situation to customers.
He expressed optimism over the California operation, which he had singled out earlier this year as a major factor in the company's two-year decline in pro.fits from $2,236,000 in 1974 to $524,000 in 1976.
Sales from the two California tabel manufacturing plants are twice today what they were a year ago, Birnbach said. He described their products as "one of the hottest table lines in the industry."
Concerning dividends, which dropped dramatically from 95 cents a share in 1974 to 22 cents a share in 1976, Birnbach said, "It is our intention to pay good dividends. We have launched a new account drive to expand our dealer base and have 18 1/2 per cent more cuo expand our dealer base and have 18 1/2 per cent more customers now than in October."