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(LEAD) S. Korean dividend payouts inch down in 2018

All Headlines 14:21 April 11, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS more details in paras 5-7)

SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) -- Dividend payouts by South Korea's firms listed on the main bourse fell slightly last year, data showed Thursday.

According to the bourse operator, the Korea Exchange (KRX), 545 out of 753 KOSPI-listed companies paid a total of 21.3 trillion won (US$18.68 billion) in dividends for 2018.

It marked a 2.3 percent decrease from a year earlier when the figure hit an all-time high of 21.8 trillion won, the latest findings showed.

But the proportion of listed firms that paid dividends reached an all-time high of 72.4 percent in 2018. It has been rising steadily from 66 percent in 2014 to 72 percent in 2016, according to the KRX.

The propensity for dividends, measured by the percentage of dividends against net income, rose to 34.88 percent in 2018 from the previous year's 33.81 percent, the data showed.

Among secondary KOSDAQ-listed firms, 553 firms paid out dividends of 1.46 trillion won in total last year, the KRX said, noting that the number of companies marked a 4.0 percent increase on-year and the payment advanced 2.3 percent.

Their dividends propensity stood at 31.0 percent last year, down from the previous year's 31.09 percent, according to the data.

South Korea's dividend payout percentage is among the lowest in the world, and local firms have been urged to adopt shareholder-friendly measures to attract more investors amid the government's pressure to raise dividend payouts.

(LEAD) S. Korean dividend payouts inch down in 2018 - 1


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