Major Korean conglomerates that posted stellar performances despite the global economic downturn last year are rewarding their executives and employees with bumper bonuses.
Samsung Group, the nation`s biggest conglomerate, is expected to award a combined 2 trillion won ($1.7 billion) in bonuses to employees of its affiliates this week, industry officials said yesterday. Samsung Electronics, the group`s flagship unit, is expected to take about 1.3 trillion won of the 2 trillion won, they said. The electronics giant is poised to report a record-high annual profit for last year.
"There is widespread expectation of generous bonuses among Samsung employees because of our good performance last year," a Samsung spokesperson said.
Samsung`s handset and TV businesses fared well during the year, and its semiconductor and LCD businesses posted sharp improvements in their earnings in the second half.
The spokesperson said he had yet to be notified of the size of its bonuses from its human resources team, though.
But news reports said Samsung Electronics employees were likely to receive bonuses equivalent to 30 percent of their annual salary on average, although bonuses will vary between divisions and teams. Under a "profit sharing" annual bonus scheme, Samsung affiliates give their employees up to 50 percent of annual salary based on the performance of each division and team.
The profit sharing bonus will be paid ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays which start Feb. 13 this year.
Last year, bonuses, which were awarded in early February, were smaller because of the company`s poor performance in the fourth quarter, when the electronics giant posted its first-ever quarterly loss. But the company has been fast recovering since then, recording a record profit in the third quarter.
Employees of Samsung Electronics` affiliates such as Samsung SDI and Samsung Electro-Mechanics are also expected to receive handsome bonuses this year, thanks to their good performances, company officials said.
Second-largest conglomerate Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group also plans to pay 1.2 trillion won to 1.3 trillion won in bonuses ahead of the upcoming holidays, news reports said.
In addition to its scheduled annual bonuses, Hyundai Motor will this month give its employees a bonus equivalent to 100 percent of the monthly salary, 1 million won in cash and 40 shares, a company spokesperson said. The bonus package is part of a wage deal struck between Hyundai Motor`s management and labor in December and reflects the company`s profit increase last year. Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group also plans to pay a bonus equivalent to 50 percent of the monthly salary and cash of 850,000 won, which has been paid ahead of Lunar New Year holidays every year.
LG Group`s flagship unit LG Electronics is expected to give 3 times the monthly basic salary as a bonus this year, the same as last year.
LG Electronics posted a record-high profit of 850.2 billion won in the third quarter, although its profit is expected to fall in the fourth quarter. "Nothing has been decided yet. Our bonus plan is expected to be announced within this week," an LG Electronics spokesperson said.
This month, LG Display, an affiliate of LG Electronics, handed out a bonus equivalent to 300 percent of the monthly basic salary, its spokesperson said. The world`s No. 2 panel maker, posted a record-high annual revenue last year.
SK Group and some other conglomerates also plan to give away big bonuses to their employees, company officials said.
By Jin Hyun-joo