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Many chaebol chairmen’s stock holdings fall

Oct 22,2018
Top shareholders in Korea’s top 10 conglomerates saw the value of their listed assets fall more than 5 trillion won ($4.42 billion) this year, hit by a slump in stock prices, according to chaebul.com, an online chaebol-related information provider, on Sunday.

The combined value of shares held by chairmen of the top 10 chaebol stood at 29.93 trillion won as of Oct. 19, down by 15 percent, or 5.28 trillion won, from 35.18 trillion won at the end of last year.

Top conglomerate Samsung’s bedridden Chairman Lee Kun-hee lost 17.2 percent in his personal listed assets over the same period from 18.58 trillion won to 15.38 trillion won. He is a top shareholder in Samsung Life Insurance with a 20.76 percent stake. The insurer saw its share prices nose-dive 26.8 percent from the last trading day of 2017 to 91,100 won, the closing price for Oct. 19. Samsung Life Insurance is the largest owner of Samsung Electronics stocks with a 7.92 percent stake, which saw its share price tumble over the same period by 13.9 percent.

Shares of Samsung Electronics have been losing steam amid a skeptical outlook for its semiconductor and mobile phone businesses. Ever since they were split 50 to 1 on May 4 - as Samsung tried to make them more “investor-friendly” - the prices have been down 15.4 percent. From the end of last year, the main Kospi lost 12.6 percent, closing at 2,156.26 on Oct. 19.

Chung Mong-koo, chairman of the country’s second-largest conglomerate, Hyundai Motor Group, saw his stock value reduced by 24.1 percent to 4.83 trillion won over the 10-month period. The fall came from major subsidiaries in which Chung is a key shareholder such as Hyundai Motor, Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Steel, which all lost share value of more than 20 percent each this year.

The value of the stocks owned by of Chey Tae-won, chairman of the third-largest chaebol, SK, fell by 4.8 percent to 4.44 trillion won and LG Chairman Koo Kwang-mo lost 28.8 percent to 697.2 billion won over the same period.

Shin Dong-bin, chairman of the fifth-largest group, saw the value of his stock ownership increase as Lotte subsidiaries got a boost recently. Investors are upbeat about the prospect of the chairman executing major corporate reform. The value of his shares rose 5.8 percent to 1.23 trillion won this year.

He returned to the helm on Oct. 8 after being released from prison three days earlier after an appeals court sentenced him to four years on probation instead of the 30-months jail term handed down by a lower court in February on bribery charges involving the ousted president Park Geun-hye.

Huh Chang-soo, head of the 7th largest group, GS, saw the value of his holdings rise 21.6 percent to 1.05 trillion won.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]