Foreign investors earn big chaebol dividends

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Foreign investors earn big chaebol dividends

Foreign investors have received almost 15 trillion won ($13 billion) in dividends from Korea’s top 10 conglomerates in the past three years on the back of shareholder-friendly policies, industry data showed Sunday.

Samsung Group, Hyundai Motor Group and eight other business groups have paid a combined 14.67 trillion won in dividends to foreign investors over the past three years, according to the data compiled by industry tracker Chaebul.com. In 2014, foreign investors received a combined 4.24 trillion won in dividends from the country’s top 10 groups, but the figure surged to 4.78 trillion won in 2015 and an estimated 5.65 trillion won last year, the data showed.

Korean companies have been miserly in distributing dividends, making their stocks undervalued and they’ve come under mounting pressure to give back more to investors.

The government also has been pressing local firms to raise dividends by taxing corporate cash reserves that are in excess of a certain amount, a move also aimed at spurring fresh investments and reviving weak domestic demand.

According to the data, Samsung affiliates have paid 7.16 trillion won in dividends to foreign investors over the past three years, accounting for 49 percent of the total dividends paid to foreign investors.

Samsung Electronics, the country’s top market cap, delivered a total of 6.28 trillion won in dividends to foreign investors between 2014 and 2016, the data showed.

The tech giant raised stock dividends to 28,500 won per share in 2016 from 21,000 won in 2015 and 20,000 won in 2014.

Hyundai Motor Group came next with 2.77 trillion won in dividends paid to foreign investors, followed by SK Group with 2.1 trillion won, Posco with 1.1 trillion won and LG Group with 1.08 trillion won, the data showed. Yonhap

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