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Chaebol families borrow almost W5tr against stocks

South Korea’s financial district Yeouido in western Seoul (Yonhap)
South Korea’s financial district Yeouido in western Seoul (Yonhap)
Stock-secured borrowing by the families of South Korea’s conglomerate founders amounted to almost 5 trillion won ($4.3 billion), led by managerial transfers and business restructuring, data showed Monday. 

According to local market analysis company Leaders Index, as of October the nation’s 29 family-controlled conglomerates had received a combined 4.82 trillion won worth of loans backed by stocks in the groups’ affiliates, up 92 percent from 2.5 trillion in the first half of last year.

Members of chaebol founders’ families applied for stock-secured loans mainly to raise the funds they needed to inherit shares directly linked to management control. Inheriting shares and other assets entails paying high taxes.

For instance, the children of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee said in April that they expected to pay around 12 trillion won in inheritance taxes. They plan to sell stakes in group affiliates worth 2 trillion won this year to pay inheritance taxes, according to regulatory filings. 

Of all the conglomerate owner families, Samsung’s Lee family took out the largest amount in stock mortgage loans, 1.71 trillion won, with some 7 percent of the family’s stakes in affiliates being offered as collateral.

Hong Ra-hee, the widow of the late business tycoon, borrowed 1 trillion won and used her 2.3 percent stake in Samsung Electronics as collateral. Hong is the largest individual shareholder of the tech behemoth. 

Lee’s eldest daughter, Lee Boo-jin, the president of Hotel Shilla, received loans worth 330 billion won secured with her shares in Samsung C&T, the construction arm and de facto holding company of Samsung Group. His younger daughter, Lee Seo-hyun, chief of the Samsung Welfare Foundation, borrowed 371.7 billion won with Samsung C&T and Samsung SDS shares as collateral.

The owner family of SK Group ranked second in stock-secured borrowing with 606 billion won. Next were Hyundai Heavy Industries with 371.5 billion won, GS with 266.7 billion won, Hankook & Company with 265 billion won, LG with 236.1 billion won, Lotte with 224.1 billion won, Doosan with 163.9 billion won, Hanwha with 157.5 billion won and DB with 150 billion won. 

By Choi Jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com)
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