Foreign shareholders enjoy bigger dividends

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Foreign shareholders enjoy bigger dividends

Korean bank holding firms’ dividend payments to foreign shareholders surpassed 1.4 trillion won ($1.25 billion) in 2011 due largely to their strong performances, data showed yesterday.

Four bank holding companies and two banks listed on the main bourse paid out a combined 1.44 trillion won in dividends to foreigners last year, up 7.6 percent from 2010, according to the data by Chaebol.com, a local tracker of large conglomerates.

Local lenders’ record earnings last year largely contributed to more payouts for foreign shareholders, the data showed. The tallied banks and financial firms saw their operating profit surge 60 percent on-year in 2011.

After reaching 211.2 billion won in 2008, local banks’ dividend payouts surged to 609.6 billion won one year later and 1.03 trillion won last year.

No. 5 lender Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) paid out the largest amount of 700.3 billion won to foreigners at the end of June 2011, which accounted for more than 70 percent of its total dividend payments.

KEB paid these out before its largest shareholder Lone Star Funds finalized a deal to sell its controlling stake in the lender to Hana Financial Group, the nation’s fourth-largest financial group.

Shinhan Financial Group will likely pay the second-highest dividend of 384.2 billion won to foreign investors, followed by KB Financial Group with 174 billion won and Hana Financial Group with 93.1 billion won.

State-run Industrial Bank of Korea is likely to dole out 51.5 billion won to foreign shareholders. Yonhap

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