The number of listed companies on South Korea's stock exchanges that plan to offer interim dividends to shareholders rose 12.5 percent on-year to 45 in 2018, the country's bourse operator said Sunday.
According to the Korea Exchange (KRX), 31 firms traded on the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) main bourse and 14 on the tech-heavy Korea Securities Dealers Automated Quotation (KOSDAQ) market issued statements they plan to offer dividends in the summer months.
This is up from 27 and 13 firms listed on the KOSPI and KOSDAQ market, respectively, last year that decided to give mid-year dividends to shareholders. The total is also an increase from 34 companies in 2016.
"There has been greater awareness among companies to give back more to shareholders that have placed their trust in them," said Korea Investment and Securities analyst Chung Hoon-seok. He said the introduction of the country's own Stewardship Code is raising social expectation for companies to take care of their investors. Market watchers predicted that the number of companies offering dividends will continue to rise.
A corporate code outlines responsibilities and obligations of managing assets on behalf of shareholders.
KRX said that for this year, steelmaker POSCO, Hana Financial, Hana Tour, S-Oil and Daekyo have confirmed they will provide dividend payments, along with Samsung Electronics. Others, like SK and Doosan Bobcat, have decided to give interim dividend payments for the first time.
Over the years, the government has been steadily pushing local companies, which have generally been shy about giving dividends, to meet their responsibilities to shareholders. Greater dividend payments can stimulate spending and greater investment, generating growth for Asia's fourth largest economy going forward. (Yonhap)
Kim Chol-hoon firstname.lastname@example.org
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