Foreigners pocket \5.8T in dividends

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Foreigners pocket \5.8T in dividends

Korean major listed firms’ dividend payouts to overseas investors soared nearly 30 percent in 2012 from a year earlier on increased ownership of local shares, data showed yesterday.

Overseas investors are estimated to have taken home dividends worth 5.75 trillion won ($5.44 billion) from the country’s top 100 listed firms in 2012, compared to 4.4 trillion won tallied a year earlier, according to the data by the bourse operator Korea Exchange and financial researcher FnGuide.

Dividends paid out to offshore investors account for 39.5 percent of the total of 14.5 trillion won. The comparable figure for 2008 stood at 32.6 percent, according to the data.

The increase came as foreign investors turned to net buyers of local shares last year by scooping up a net $15 billion, compared to a net selling of $6.9 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the Korea Center for International Finance.

Foreign investors held a total of 3.8 billion shares worth 344.8 trillion won in the country’s top 100 listed firms last year, FnGuide added.

Samsung Electronics, the world’s leading maker of mobile phones, is estimated to have paid out dividends worth 2.7 trillion won to foreigners last year. Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor held a comparable figure of 440 billion won, the data showed.

Meanwhile, market watchers said the country’s listed firms should increase their dividend payouts, thus leading investors to make long-term investments.

“Korean firms give lower dividend payouts compared to global peers, which makes investors focus on short-term investments for profit-taking, leading to higher market volatility,” said Oh Deok-kyo, a researcher at Corporate Governance Service. Yonhap

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