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Small shareholders' clout grows at Samsung

The Seoul head office of South Korea’s largest conglomerate Samsung Group. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
The Seoul head office of South Korea’s largest conglomerate Samsung Group. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Holdings of small shareholders in the nation’s largest company, Samsung Electronics, grew to 6.5 percent in 2020, up from 3.6 percent at the end of 2019, data showed Sunday.

The number of small stockholders is expected to have more than tripled from 568,313 to 2 million during the same period. Small shareholders refer to individual investors who have less than a 1 percent stake.

The portion of Samsung shares held by retail traders in 2019 stood at 3.6 percent in end-2019 while domestic institutional investors, except for the state-run National Pension Service, owned 8.7 percent.

Individual traders, who went on a buying spree after the stock market crashed in March, bought some 177 million Samsung shares last year, which account for a 2.97 percent stake of Samsung. Institutional investors, on the other hand, sold 97.6 million shares, or 1.64 percent, last year.

As a result, the holdings of Samsung’s small shareholders increased to 6.5 percent, just 0.6 percentage points lower than 7.1 percent owned by institutional investors.

In end-2019, some 568,313 individual investors held a stake of less than 1 percent in Samsung, but the figure continued to rise sharply since early last year -- 1.36 million in March, 1.45 million in June and 1.75 million in September.

It is estimated that Samsung may have added more than 400,000 to the list of its small stakeholders from October to December, raising the forecast of the total number exceeding 2 million.

As of end-2019, the owner family members of the tech firm held 21.2 percent while the NPS and foreign investors had 10.6 percent and 55.9 percent, respectively.

Foreigners’ holdings are also believed to have slightly dropped to approximately 54.5 percent as they sold 85.6 million shares last year while the NPS’s stake grew by 0.2 percentage points to 10.8 percent.

The number of registered foreign investors could change a bit due to calculation difference between the financial authority and private brokerages, according to observers.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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