Lotte affiliates agree to raise payouts ahead of merger

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Lotte affiliates agree to raise payouts ahead of merger

Retail giant Lotte said Thursday that its four affiliates would more than double their dividend payout ratios as the group pushes for a corporate governance shake-up.

In their regulatory filings, the affiliates - Lotte Chilsung Beverage, Lotte Confectionery, Lotte Food and Lotte Shopping - said they would increase the dividend payout ratio, or the percentage of earnings paid to shareholders, to 30 percent from the current average of 12 to 13 percent.

The announcement came as the country’s fifth-largest conglomerate pushes to set up a holding structure to reform its corporate governance amid a series of troubles at home and abroad.

In April, the board of directors of the affiliates passed a plan to split each of them into holding and operating entities. Under the plan, the four holding entities will merge into one holding company that will control other business arms under its wing.

Lotte claims that under the proposed governance structure, the group’s cross-shareholding among affiliates will be reduced, thus making its governance structure more transparent and efficient.

The plan is up for shareholder approval during a meeting on Aug. 29. If approved, the new holding structure will take effect in early October.

Samsung Electronics tops smartphone market, again

Samsung Electronics topped the global smartphone market in the second quarter, data showed Thursday, with the Galaxy S8 series emerging as the most-sold Android-powered models.

According to the data compiled by industry tracker Strategy Analytics, the Korean tech giant stood as the No. 1 player in the area with a combined market share of 22.1 percent.

Apple followed with 11.4 percent. China-based Huawei and OPPO Electronics trailed with 10.7 percent and 8.2 percent, while Xiaomi took up 6.4 percent.

The global smartphone market in the second quarter totaled 360 million units, the industry tracker said.

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