N&Q: Family business legend dies; Yonggary and South Korea’s chaebols…

Luc Hoffmann dies

OK, Luc Hoffmann wasn’t necessarily a family business legend, but he was someone who came from a great business dynasty and used that background to become a legendary environmentalist. A big beneficiary of the huge pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche, now known as Roche, which his grandfather had founded in the late 19th century, Luc developed an early passion for birds and committed a large part of his life to the study and protection of them. He helped set up the World Wildlife Fund in the early 1960s. Luc also established a number of other conservation projects, including the highly respected Tour du Valat research institute, based in the Camargue area of France, which worked to protect the Mediterranean wetlands. His eldest son, Andre, has continued his work on environmental issues, and also sits on the board of Roche. Here is a more detailed obituary of Luc The Economist recently published.

 

Yonggary and South Korean family businesses

Yonggary is the South Korean equivalent of the Japanese monster Gorzilla and it’s an apt way of describing the huge power and influence of Korea’s chaebols, the country’s big family-owned business conglomerates. According to a recent study by a group called CEO Score, South Korea's top 10 family business groups, such as Samsung and Hyundai, comprise more than half of the nation‘s total stock market capitalization. In fact, the various businesses of Samsung account for about a fourth of the total market capitalization.

CEO Score added that the market capitalization of the 181 listed subsidiaries of the 10 largest family business groups was $696.35 billion as of the end of July, with 416 members of chaebol families owning $62.74 billion.  Although these 10 chaebols amount to just 8.8% of all 2,064 companies traded on the stock market, they accounted for 51.2% of the value of all shares traded on the main South Korean stock exchange. CEO Score also found that the family-owners of the chaebols, owned a sizable 4.7% of the total market capitalization of the Korean stock market. That, surely, is more than any other country in the world.