Lee Kun-hee, the de-facto head of South Korea's top family-controlled conglomerate Samsung Group, earned the most amount of dividends among local businessmen last year, data showed Sunday, helped by the government's pressure on listed firms to expand returns to shareholders.
Lee, who has been hospitalized since May after suffering a heart attack, earned 178.8 billion won ($164 million) in 2014, up 63 percent from a year earlier, the data by market researcher Chaebul.com showed.
The jump came as the group's flagship Samsung Electronics Co. expanded its total dividends to 2.9 trillion won in 2014, compared to the 2.1 trillion won posted a year earlier.
South Korea's listed firms have been expanding the amount of dividends paid out to shareholders due mainly to growing government pressure to return more to shareholders.
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo followed, with his dividends surging 31.1 percent on-year to reach 64.9 billion won in 2014.
SK Group head Chey Tae-won, who has been serving a four-year term since January 2013, saw his dividends rise 15.4 percent to 33 billion won.
Samsung's heir apparent Lee Jay-yong, meanwhile, was the top gainer among the business heads, with his dividends soaring 79.5 percent over the cited period to 21.6 billion won. Jay-yong is the only son of Lee Kun-hee.
The elder Lee's wife, Hong Ra-hee, also saw her dividends jump 40 percent on-year to 21.7 billion won in 2014. (Yonhap)