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Hyundai Motor chief logs huge gains from bargain share buys in pandemic

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun (Hyundai Motor Group)
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun (Hyundai Motor Group)
Among South Korean CEOs taking advantage of low share prices in the initial phase of the pandemic, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun was the most active purchaser, and also generated the largest gains, data showed Wednesday.

Of 852 former and incumbent CEOs of the country’s top 500 listed companies in terms of market capitalization, 144 purchased shares in their companies between January last year and July 30 this year, according to local corporate tracker CEO Score.

The CEOs bought around 4.74 million shares worth 151.4 billion won ($132.2 million) in total over the cited period. The accumulated gain in the value of their share purchases came to 171.9 billion won, while the average investment returns marked 89.2 percent, the data showed.

Of former and incumbent CEOs that made purchases, 44 belonged to the companies’ controlling families. Despite being a minority, it accounted for 88.6 percent of the total shares by value.

Chung was the top buyer as he bought 885,092 shares worth 81.7 billion won in Hyundai Motor and the auto parts affiliated entity Hyundai Mobis.

He was followed by Korea Investment Holdings Chairman Kim Nam-goo, who bought shares worth 8.6 billion won and Kim Jong-koo, chairman of electronic parts maker for telecommunication devices Partron, who bought shares worth some 2.1 billion won. Jusung Engineering CEO Hwang Chul-joo also bought 1 billion-won worth of his company’s shares.

Other CEOs on the list include APTC President Choi Woo-hyung (1.8 billion won), Taeyoung Engineering & Construction Vice Chairman Lee Jae-gyu (1.3 billion won), CrystalGenomics Chairman Cho Myung-joong (1.1 billion won), Dongwon Development Chairman Jang Bok-man (600 million won), and BNK Financial Group Chairman Kim Ji-wan (591 million won).

As the stock market was hit hard by the unprecedented pandemic in January last year, most listed companies’ shares tumbled. In line with the market’s fast recovery track, however, the value of their stockholdings grew rapidly, CEO Score added.

The Hyundai Motor chief posted the largest valuation gain of 126 billion won. Korea Investment Holdings Chairman came next with 16.6 billion won, followed by KCC Chairman Chung Mong-jin and Jusung Engineering CEO Hwang Chul-joo with 2.8 billion won and 2 billion won, respectively.

By Jie Ye-eun (