Samsung comprises of dozens of units including Samsung Electronics, the world's top maker of mobile phones and TVs, which earn a collective revenue equal to around 20% of South Korea's annual economic output. The family-run group currently chaired by Lee Kun-Hee has merged, seceded or newly listed some of its key units in recent years as he prepares to hand over helm to his son, J.Y. Lee. Samsung Group announced sale of stakes in four petrochemical and defence affiliates for US$1.7 bln (USS$2.2 bln) as it steps up restructuring efforts ahead of a generational ownership succession, as per AFP.
The sale to the Hanwha conglomerate, which has major petrochemical holdings, is expected to be finalised in H1-2015. The deal involves Samsung Electronics and other group affiliates selling their combined stakes in defence firm Samsung Techwin and Samsung General Chemicals. A 50% stake held by Samsung General Chemicals in its joint venture with the French energy giant Total, called Samsung Total, will also be sold to Hanwha, along with Samsung Techwin's 50% holding in a joint venture with French defence firm Thales. This marks the first sale of Samsung affiliates since the group was forced to shed its struggling car making unit in 1997 during the Asian financial crisis.
The founding Lee family has been under growing state pressure to unravel its complex cross shareholdings and make its governing structure more transparent.