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Samsung chairman retains top spot as wealthiest businessman in S. Korea

Ailing Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee retained the top spot as the wealthiest South Korean businessman with his stock assets rising by 4 trillion won ($3.4 billion) in 2019, to reach 17.6 trillion won, according to a corporate tracker Tuesday.

According to CEO Score, Lee’s stock assets rose the most in the nation in 2019 and he is the only individual whose share value exceeds 10 trillion won here.

The huge increase comes mainly from his holdings in Samsung Electronics, which soared in value from 9.6 trillion won in early 2019 to 13.9 trillion won in December. 

Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee Yonhap
Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee Yonhap


He also holds 20.76 percent stake in Samsung Life Insurance, 4.18 percent in Samsung Electronics, 2.86 percent in Samsung C&T Corp. and 0.01 percent in Samsung SDS.

Second on the list is his son and heir apparent Lee Jae-yong, whose stock value reached 7.3 trillion won, an increase of 780 billion won over the past year. He holds 17.23 percent stake in Samsung C&T, 0.7 percent in Samsung Electronics and 9.2 percent in Samsung SDS.

Lee’s immediate family members figure in the top 15 list, with a combined value of more than 30 trillion won.

His wife, Hong Ra-hee, came in sixth with a 0.91 stake in Samsung Electronics whose estimated value is 3 trillion won. His two daughters, Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun, ranked 11th and 12th, with each holding a 5.51 percent stake in Samsung C&T. The value of their stocks stood at 1.7 trillion won each.

Amorepacific Chairman Suh Kyung-bae was third on the list with shares worth 5 trillion won, up 792 billion won from January. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo ranked fourth with assets worth 3.9 trillion won, up 401 billion won. SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won came in fifth with 3.4 trillion won, up 130 billion won.

The top 10 list includes Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin, whose stocks were valued at 2.7 trillion won, and Hyundai Motor heir apparent Chung Euisun with 2.3 trillion won worth of assets. It also includes Kakao Chairman Kim Beom-su with 1.9 trillion won worth of assets and Netmarble Chairman Bang Joon-hyuk with 1.9 trillion.

Meanwhile, the Celltrion and Hanmi Pharmaceutical chiefs saw the biggest decline in their stock assets.

Celltrion Chairman Seo saw the value of his stocks fall to 928 billion won, down 24 percent from January. Hanmi Pharmaceutical Chairman Lim Sung-ki’s shares also went down by 847 billion won to 850 billion won. 

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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