[SEOUL] South Korean tech firm Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will likely pay out a smaller amount in dividends this year compared with that of 2014, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
The person, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the subject, said that last year's sharp increase in payout was due to exceptional circumstances as Samsung sought to assist government efforts to lift the economy and boost shareholder value. "The total amount paid in dividends in 2015 likely will not match that of 2014," the person said.
A Samsung spokeswoman declined to comment.
South Korea's government last year said it would tax excessive corporate cash, a move aimed at getting companies to spend more on dividends, wages and investment. Of the 45 firms that announced annual dividends as of February 6, the average increase was 22 per cent per share, according to Barclays.
Samsung Electronics last month announced an end-2014 dividend of 19,500 won per common share, an increase of 41 per cent from a year earlier. Factoring in an earlier interim dividend, the total 2014 payout was up 40 per cent, at 20,000 won per common share.
The company had in December previously guided for a "special increase" in the end-2014 dividend, which led some investors to believe that payouts in 2015 may not be as large.