Samsung ordered to ditch stake in Everland

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Samsung ordered to ditch stake in Everland

Samsung Card has three months to sell its remaining stake in Samsung Everland under a special law aimed at preventing conglomerates from controlling too much of their subsidiaries through their own financial institutions.

The Financial Services Commission said yesterday that Samsung Card should release its 8.63 percent stake in the unit by Aug. 16.

The credit card unit of Samsung Group bought 25.64 percent of the group’s amusement park subsidiary from 1998 to 1999 without the regulator’s approval, the FSC said.

It began with a 10 percent stake but this later surged as the card unit was merged with Samsung Capital, which owned 7.05 percent.

Under the Act on Structural Improvement of the Financial Industry, which was enacted in 1997, a financial firm must obtain the approval of the financial watchdog if it wants to own more than 20 percent in another company, or 5 percent in an affiliated firm.

Samsung Card was notified of the violation in 2007 but failed to address the situation until January, when it sold a 17 percent stake to KCC, a construction material company.

“If Samsung Card does not rectify the situation by the given deadline it will face a daily penalty of about 50 million won ($42,977) until it complies with the order,” the FSC said in a statement.

“Everland shareholders decided to purchase some of its shares on May 2 and Samsung Card will move forward with the matter after the shareholders have determined how much it can buy,” an official at Samsung Group said.

Separately, the Korea Student Aid Foundation made a failed attempt to sell 106,149 shares, or 4.25 percent of Everland, to the public in late March.

By Song Su-hyun []

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