The Korea Herald


Samsung SDS investors blame FTC head for shares plunge

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : June 19, 2018 - 17:09

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Samsung SDS’ small shareholders have voiced their anger at the nation’s antitrust watchdog head, claiming his remarks Thursday drove the firm’s shares to plunge. 

On Thursday, the Fair Trade Commission Chairman Kim Sang-jo had urged the owner families of conglomerates to sell off stocks of non-key affiliates, referring to the businesses of system integration, real estate, logistics and advertising.

“Following Kim’s remark, shares of Samsung SDS -- whose main business is system integration -- plunged and small shareholders have suffered huge losses,” said the group of the firm’s small shareholders in a statement on Monday. 

Fair Trade Commission Chairman Kim Sang-jo (Yonhap) Fair Trade Commission Chairman Kim Sang-jo (Yonhap)

The shareholders’ group also asked the FTC to clarify what are the standards to classify key affiliates and non-key affiliates, what are legal grounds to sell off shares of non-key affiliates and what are measures to make up for the losses of small shareholders.

“If appropriate measures are not taken, we will take legal action against Kim Sang-jo,” the group said.

Around 60 people have signed a petition on the Cheong Wa Dae website demanding the dismissal of Kim Sang-jo, saying, he is “disturbing the market and damaging small shareholders.”

Although Kim did not mention Samsung SDS on Thursday, the firm is known as one of Kim’s targets to reform conglomerates as it is in the center of Samsung’s complicated corporate governance structure.

Currently, Samsung’s owner family holds a 17.01 percent stake of Samsung SDS. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong holds a 9.2 percent and his two sisters Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun hold 3.9 percent each. Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee holds a 0.01 percent.

Samsung SDS has a major stake in Samsung’s two key arms: Samsung Electronics (22.58 percent stake) and Samsung C&T Corporation (17.08 percent stake).

After Kim’s remarks, shares of some affiliates in the businesses Kim mentioned plunged the following day.

Shares of Samsung SDS fell 14 percent, Shinsegae’s system integration arm Shinsegae I&C saw a 13.7 percent fall and Hyundai Motor’s advertising firm Innocean saw a drop of 7 percent on Friday.

The FTC spokesperson said it would deliver its position within two weeks in response to the shareholders’ group.

By Shin Ji-hye (