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Foreigners receive more dividends than ever

Mar 05,2018

Foreigners received an all-time high of dividend payouts from the 10 largest business groups in Korea last year, with the amount surpassing 7 trillion won ($6.46 billion) for the first time, according to industry data on Sunday.

Among the 15.3 trillion won in dividends paid by companies affiliated with the top 10 conglomerates last year, foreigners received 7.11 trillion won, according to the Seoul-based corporate tracker Chaebul.com.

The ratio of foreign dividend payouts rose from 43.7 percent of the total in 2016 to 46.3 percent in 2017.

Dividend payouts by Korean firms have been on the rise since 2015 as the government has been pressing corporations to return more to their shareholders to spur fresh investments and jack up weak domestic demand.

Under the more investor-friendly policy, offshore investors received over 17 trillion won of dividends from companies affiliated with the top 10 conglomerates between 2015 and 2017, accounting for 45.1 percent of the total, the market researcher said.

Foreigners heavily relied on dividends from Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK and LG, with their dividends from the leading industry players accounting for 90 percent over the three-year period.

Top market cap Samsung Electronics paid 3.5 trillion won in dividends to offshore investors last year, the largest amount among Korean companies, it noted.