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AmorePacific CEO's stock ownership rate No. 1 among top 30 companies

All Headlines 09:09 April 08, 2016

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- Suh Kyung-bae, the chairman of South Korean cosmetic giant AmorePacific Group, owns more than half of the company's shares, marking the highest among the nation's top 30 companies, data showed Friday.

Suh holds a 55.7-percent ownership in AmorePacific Group, the holding company which has 10 subsidiaries including flagship AmorePacific Co., its regulatory filing showed. It is the 16th largest company by market value on the Seoul bourse excluding financial companies and state-run enterprises.

The 53-year-old chairman also has 10.7 percent of stocks in AmorePacific Co., the nation's sixth-largest company by stock value as of Thursday.

His ownership far exceeds those of chief executives of other family-run conglomerates.

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee holds 3.4 percent of shares in Samsung Electronics Co., the crown jewel of the nation's largest conglomerate and most valuable company, and Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo owns 5.2 percent of top automaker Hyundai Motor Co.

Thanks to the high level of ownership in AmorePacific Group, which is 55th place with 6.5 trillion won (US$5.6 billion) in assets, Suh ranked as South Korea's second-richest person, following Samsung's Lee.

AmorePacific has a relatively transparent corporate structure compared to other conglomerates which are run through murky cross-shareholding structure, and market watchers are concerned that the chairman's dominant ownership could leave his power unchecked.

"The largest shareholder's heavy ownership raises concerns that management decisions could more likely favor the big shareholders rather than minority shareholders," Ahn Sang-hee, a researcher at Daishin Economic Research Institute, said. "The high stake ownership doesn't always mean bad. But the excessive rate could lower the share turnover, which in turn could negatively affect the corporate value."

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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