Amid escalating market interests on a grand succession scenario of late chairman’s shares to his children, data showed on Tuesday that his family may have received some 3 trillion won ($2.7 billion) in dividends since 2014.
According to data compiled by the financial regulator Financial Supervisory Service, the total dividend paid to the chairman and his family between 2014 and 2019 reached 2.8 trillion won. When dividends paid to the family this year are added, the figure is highly likely to surpass the 3-trillion-won mark.
The chairman was hospitalized after a heart attack in May 2014 and passed away on Sunday.
Dividend payment to the Lee family grew from 222.1 billion won in 2014 to 750.1 billion won in 2019.
Increased dividends from tech giant Samsung Electronics, the conglomerate’s crown jewel, are thought to have contributed to the growth.
Dividends payouts are expected to further increase down the road as the family needs cash to pay inheritance taxes, market watchers said.
“It is likely that the business titan has prepared for inheritance taxes for years,” said Km Dong-yang, an analyst at NH Securities, adding “The tech behemoth has kept increasing dividend payouts since 2018, and that scheme must have been partly aimed at paying the taxes.”
When receiving Samsung Group shares worth 18 million won owned by the late chairman, the bereaved family is required to pay more than 10 trillion won based on the 60 percent tax rate on inherited shares for large shareholders.
In the aforementioned period, Lee Kun-hee received 1.8 trillion won of dividends, which accounts for 64.9 percent of the dividends that the Lee family received.
The late Samsung chairman holds a 4.18 percent stake in tech giant Samsung Electronics while owning 8.51 percent and 5.01 percent of insurance firm Samsung Life Insurance and construction firm Samsung C&T, respectively.
His only son and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jae-yong received 504.1 billion won of dividends in 2014-2019.
The junior Lee holds control over the tech giant with a mere 0.7 percent stake thanks to the cross-holdings ownership structure. He is the largest stakeholder of the construction firm with a 17.08 percent stake. The builder has 19.34 percent stake in the insurance company, which is the largest shareholder of the tech giant with an 8.51 percent stake. The Samsung heir received most of his dividends from the construction company.
The chairman’s widow Hong Rah-hee, who owns 0.91 percent of the tech giant, received 272.3 billion won while his first daughter Boo-jin and his second daughter Seo-hyun were given 98.2 billon won each as dividends.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org