Samsung companies’ shares jump after chairman’s death

Samsung companies’ shares jump after chairman’s death

South Korean group’s units may need to raise dividends to help family pay inheritance taxes

Shares in groups tied to South Korean conglomerate Samsung jumped a day after the death of chairman Lee Kun-hee, as investors bet they would boost dividends to help his family members pay high inheritance taxes.

Lee, who passed away on Sunday, was the country’s richest person with stakes in Samsung units worth about Won18.2tn ($16.1bn) as of the end of last week. Lee Jae-yong, his son and vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics, has led the sprawling group for the past six years after his father suffered a heart attack.

South Korea’s inheritance taxes can reach as much as 65 per cent, among the highest in the world. That means the Lee family needs to cough up as much as Won10.6tn to inherit the former chairman’s assets and keep control of the nation’s biggest conglomerate. The sum can be paid in instalments over five years.

“Shares are rising as group units will probably pay higher dividends for the family’s inheritance tax payment,” said Park Ju-geun, head of research group CEO Score.