LG, GS, LS owners enjoy dividend bonanza

LG, GS, LS owners enjoy dividend bonanza

About half of Asia's listed companies are family-run businesses, according to an analysis performed by Credit Suisse last year.

And these companies were found to have been quite lucrative, as the family-owned corporations from 10 major Asian countries accounted for 32 per cent of the total market value of the region.

Korea was included on the list, and out of the current market leaders, all but POSCO were founded in the early stages of industrialization and thrived in the hands of their heirs.

The LG, GS and LS groups, which originated with Lak Hui Chemical Industrial Corp., established in 1947, were found to be the most typical and exemplary family businesses in Korea.

Despite a split between the Koo family and the Huh family in 2004 after more than half a century of doing business together, the two sides did not engage in any real power struggles. In fact, the relationship between the groups and their heirs appears to be largely congenial.

This sense of harmony is embedded in their family-centred philosophies, and is also reflected in the groups' equity structures and share allocations.

LG Group

Within LG Group, Korea's fourth-largest multinational conglomerate, 44 family members including group chairman Koo Bon-moo possess stakes.

The share value of both their public and non-listed companies amount to as much as 4.39 trillion won (S$5.1 billion), which roughly translates into 99.8 billion won a person on average. Twenty-two, or precisely half, of the family stakeholders are female.

The majority of their stakes derive from the holding company LG Corp. and its trading firms, with the exceptions of chairman Koo Bon-moo, LG Electronics vice chairman Koo Bon-joon, Heesung Group chairman Koo Bon-neung, Heesung Electronics president Koo Bon-sik and a few other siblings who also hold stakes in LG CNS, an IT services provider and LG Group's non-listed affiliate.

Koo Bon-moo is currently the largest shareholder within the family with roughly 1.04 trillion won, followed by Koo Bon-joon with 740 billion won and Koo Bon-neung ― Koo Bon-moo's younger brother ― close behind with 490 billion won (not counting his shares in Heesung Group).

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