Divided returns were hardly affected even as Korean companies publicly trading on the main Kospi bourse reported 42 percent plunge in their bottom line last year.
According to Seoul-based financial data provider FnGuide on Sunday, 137 Kospi-listed companies paid out total 21.32 trillion won ($17.9 billion) in dividends for fiscal year 2019, down 3.18 percent from the previous year.
The drop is mild, given the fact that their combined net profit shrank 42 percent to 58.88 trillion won from 101.47 trillion won a year ago.
The dividend payout ratio jumped to 36.2 percent from 21.7 percent a year ago as the result.
Sixteen bumped up their payouts despite deterioration in the bottom line.
SK Telecom posted its net income totaled 861.9 billion won with a 72.48 percent on-year dip last year but increased payouts by 1.76 percent to 730.1 billion won. Naver also reported a 36.81 percent fall in net income but paid out 19.14 percent more to 54.7 billion won for shareholders on top of stock retirement plan in 98.2 billion won worth.
Others on the list include Kumho Petro Chemical, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, GS E&C, KT and Hyundai Department Store.
Bukwang Pharmaceutical incurred a net loss of 7.3 billion won last year, reversing from a profit of 145.7 billion won in 2018. But it increased payouts to 12.2 billion won from 9.8 billion won a year ago.
Twenty four kept dividends unchanged – Samsung Electronics at 9.62 trillion won (with net income down 50.98 percent), Samsung C&T (down 40.06 percent), Samsung Life Insurance (down 39.34 percent), and Samsung SDI (down 45.99 percent).
SK Networks and LG International paid out dividends even after reporting a net loss.
The Korean Inc. started paying out more to shareholders after the country’s biggest institutional player National Pension Service (NPS) took up an assertive role in 2018 by adopting the stewardship code. It then has turned proactive to bolster shareholders’ rights and watch over corporate governance, putting pressure companies to increase dividends.
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]