Key Samsung shares surge as succession issue looms

Shares in Samsung Group’s key affiliates traded higher on Monday on expectations that they may increase dividend payouts to help the late Samsung chief’s scions secure funds to pay record high inheritance taxes.

Samsung Group chief Lee Kun-hee died at age 78 on Sunday, more than six years after being hospitalised for a heart attack.

Shares in three Samsung affiliates held by the late group chief spiked in the morning session as investors bet that the senior Lee’s death may facilitate a revamp of the governance structure at key affiliates, and his only son and group heir, Lee Jae-yong, will secure his grip on the country’s largest conglomerate down the road.

Industry sources said the late Samsung Electronics chairman’s scions may have to pay $8.85 billion in inheritance tax, reports Yonhap news agency.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics, the group’s crown jewel, traded 0.17 per cent higher; C&T, the group’s de facto holding company, jumped 14.42 per cent; and Samsung Life Insurance, which holds a stake in Samsung Electronics, rose 6.66 per cent.

As of end-June, the late chairman held a 4.18 per cent stake in Samsung Electronics, a 2.86 per cent stake in Samsung C&T and a 20.76 per cent stake in Samsung Life Insurance, among others.

The value of his stock holdings is estimated at some 18 trillion won.

Jae-yong, the de facto chief of the group, holds a 0.7 per cent stake in Samsung Electronics, 17.33 per cent in Samsung C&T and more stakes in other affiliates, with the combined value of his stock holdings totaling 7.1 trillion won.