South Korea’s top four financial groups -- Shinhan, KB, Hana and Woori – saw their combined net profit last year hitting a record high of 15.85 trillion won ($12.53 billion), largely buoyed by robust interest.
This figure broke last year’s record of 14.54 trillion won, as there was an 8.99 percent increase in net profit on-year.
Shinhan reclaimed the top position among the four financial firms in Korea by posting a net profit of 4.64 trillion won.
Following Shinhan, KB marked a 4.41 trillion won net profit, while Hana achieved 3.62 trillion won.
Of the four groups, Woori logged the lowest net profit at 3.16 trillion won, but this figure is still 22.47 percent higher than its 2021 figure. It is also the first time that Woori saw over 3 trillion won net profit.
The four groups’ stellar performance is mainly due to high interest rates.
Shinhan’s interest-related profit reached 10.67 trillion won, increasing by 17.9 percent on-year.
KB’s interest-related profit also jumped by 18.9 percent on-year to 11. 38 trillion won.
Hana and Woori’s interest-related profits also stood at 8.91 trillion won and 8.69 trillion won, respectively.
Although Korean financial authorities have been pressuring local financial groups not to increase dividends too excessively to prepare for the coming economic winter, the local financial groups disclosed their plans to actively share their earnings with shareholders through raised dividends.
Shinhan expects that its total shareholder return rate will be 30 percent.
The group will pay a dividend of 865 won per share, meaning that its dividend to net profit ratio will be 23.5 percent. The top financial group will also retire its treasury stock, worth around 150 billion won.
KB's board members decided to set its dividend to net profit ratio at 26 percent and also to retire treasury stocks worth 300 billion won. KB’s total shareholder return rate is expected to be 33 percent, increasing 7 percentage points on-year.
Hana announced a 3,350 won dividend, including the 800 won interim dividend that it has already paid out. It will also retire its treasury stock worth 150 billion won. Hana's shareholder return rate will increase by one percent on-year to 27 percent.
Woori will pay a dividend of 1,130 won per share, adding that the group aims to raise its shareholder returns to reach 30 percent.