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Chiefs of Korea’s top 10 conglomerates to reap record high dividends for 2018

Feb. 17, 2019 - 15:30 By Sohn Ji-young
The chiefs of South Korea’s top 10 conglomerates are expected to collect record-high dividends for 2018 on the back of generous dividend payouts from the listed companies, according to data from corporate market tracker on Sunday.

Together, the heads of Korea’s 10 biggest family-owned conglomerates are poised to earn about 757.2 billion won ($670 million) in dividends for the fiscal year of 2018. This marks a 42.4 percent rise from 531.8 billion won in dividends they collected in 2017.

The top dividend profiteer is hospitalized Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee. He is expected to earn 474.8 billion won ($420 million) in dividends for 2018, marking a 55 percent increase of 168.4 billion won from the previous year.

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who is currently hospitalized in Seoul (Yonhap)

Lee will collect some 343 billion won in dividends from Samsung Electronics and 110 billion won from Samsung Life Insurance, according to the Seoul-based conglomerate tracking firm.

The figure who saw the biggest jump in annual dividend earnings was LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, the son of LG’s late Chairman Koo Bon-moo.

After his father’s death in May last year, Koo Kwang-mo’s stake ownership in LG companies surged from 6.24 percent to 15 percent. This also led his dividend earnings to nearly quadruple from 14 billion won collected in 2017 to 51.8 billion in 2018.

Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin and GS Group Chairman Huh Chang-soo also saw their dividend earnings double in 2018.

Shin’s dividend earnings last year came to 25.8 billion won, marking a 47.8 percent increase from 17.5 billion won collected in 2017. With generous payouts from GS Engineering and Construction, Huh’s dividend earnings from GS companies last year comes to 15.8 billion won, up 54.8 percent from 10.2 billion won collected in 2017.

Also expecting a surge in dividend earnings is Shinsegae Group Chairman Lee Myung-hee, who is set to reap 13.7 billion won in dividends for 2018, up 23.5 percent on-year.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and Doosan Group Chairman Park Jeong-won will not be seeing a significant on-year hike in dividends.

Due to sluggish business growth in the automobile business, the Hyundai Motor chief will receive 88.7 billion won in dividends for 2018, which is about the same as the amount collected in 2017.

SK Chairman Chey will receive 68.4 billion won in dividends, up 3.8 percent on-year, as his stake ownership in SK companies fell to 18.44 percent last year after he transferred 4.68 percent of his stake to family members last year.

The Doosan chairman is set to collect 7 billion won in dividends for 2018, up 2 percent from 6.9 billion won earned in 2017, according to

Hanwha Group has yet to confirm its dividend policies for 2018. But based on market predictions, Chairman Kim Seung-yeon is expected reap around 11.4 billion won in dividends for last year, which is similar to the amount collected in 2017, said.

By Sohn Ji-young (