Samsung heir repurchases shares of C&T, Engineering

Samsung Group said Thursday Samsung Electronics vice chairman and heir apparent Lee Jae-yong has repurchased treasury shares of Samsung C&T and Samsung Engineering, worth a combined 230 billion won (S$260 million).

Lee acquired 1.3 million shares -- about 200 billion won -- of Samsung C&T, the de facto holding company, from Samsung SDI, the battery-making unit.

"The buyback aims to minimise the market impact, including any damage to minority shareholders, in the process of the group's reducing cross-shareholdings," the group said in a statement.

Last year, the nation's Fair Trade Commission ordered Samsung SDI to sell off its Samsung C&T shares to reduce the group's circular ownership across affiliates.

On Thursday, Samsung SDI issued a total of 5 million shares in Samsung C&T. Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation acquired 300 billion won shares as part of investment, while the remaining shares were put up for sale in a block deal.

Lee also purchased 3 million treasury shares, worth 30.2 billion won, of Samsung Engineering, the troubled ship-builder that is financial struggling due to the industry's prolonged slowdown. He plans to acquire an additional 70 billion won shares in the near future, the group said.

Speculation was growing about his 300 billion won cash that was acquired by selling a 2.05 per cent stake in Samsung SDS to participate in Samsung Engineering's planned capital increase.

He planned to buy shares in case of a lack of applications, but following news about his participation, investors purchased most of the shares, worth 1.2 trillion won, that were issued early this month.

By Lee Ji-yoon (