Dividend payouts of the Korean companies listed on the KOSPI market are expected to exceed 30 trillion won this year for the first time.
Korea Exchange (KRX) said on Dec. 25 that the interim dividend payouts of KOSPI companies, which settle their accounts in December, were tallied at 9.1 trillion won (US$8.2 billion), nearly double the 4.6 trillion won (US$4.1 billion) recorded in the same period last year.
Securities industry analysts say that total annual dividend payouts will hit a new record this year as interim dividends increased significantly. They say that if listed companies maintain their dividend payments at the same level as last year, total annual dividends will exceed 30 trillion won (US$27 billion). Year-end dividend payouts, excluding interim dividends, totaled 21.8 trillion won (US$19.6 billion) last year.
Over the last five years, total dividends paid by KOSPI-listed companies have steadily increased. Total annual dividends climbed steadily from 13.2 trillion won (US$11.9 billion) in 2013 to 15.3 trillion won (US$13.7 billion) in 2014, 20 trillion won (US$18 billion) in 2015, 21.8 trillion won (US$19.6 billion) in 2016, and 26.4 trillion won (US$23.7 billion) in 2017. In particular, Samsung Electronics said early this year that it planned to use at least 50% of its free cash flow over the three years as a source for shareholder return and pay dividends at a level of 9.6 trillion won (US$8.6 billion) a year.
Shinhan Financial Investment predicted that annual dividends of KOSPI 200 companies would reach 26.9 trillion won (US$24.2 billion), an increase of 12% over the same period last year.