SEOUL– Dividends paid to the chiefs of South Korea’s top 50 business groups jumped 37.1 percent last year from a year earlier as major companies delivered more returns to shareholders, industry data showed Tuesday.

A total of 39 heads of the nation’s 50 conglomerates received a combined 1.8 trillion won (US$1.6 billion) in 2020, according to the data by the local research firm Korea CXO Institute.

Dividends to late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee amounted to 862.6 billion won last year, which accounted for 48.2 percent of the total, the institute said.
Lee’s dividend income jumped 82 percent on-year in 2020 as the conglomerate’s crown jewel, Samsung Electronics Co., expanded returns to shareholders.

As Lee died in October, a lump sum of the money went to his bereaved family members, making his son and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong the nation’s second-highest dividend recipient last year. The junior Lee is now in prison for a bribery and embezzlement conviction.

Scions of Samsung Group are expected to announce their massive inheritance tax payment plan next week, including how to distribute the late chairman’s stock holdings and other assets.

The senior Lee, who was South Korea’s richest man, left more than 22 trillion won worth of assets, including stocks valued around 19 trillion won.

Lee’s family members are expected to pay around 12 trillion won in inheritance taxes for the late chief’s assets. They have to report and pay inheritance taxes to local authorities by the end of this month.

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won came in third with 90.9 billion won, followed by Hyundai Motor Group Honorary Chairman Chung Mong-koo with 83.3 billion won, it noted.

Source: Yonhap News Agency