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South Korea: Foreign investors raise stakes in 24 firms

While some foreign investors are selling Seoul stocks on concerns of a US recession, others are continuing to purchase and increase their shareholdings in some companies amid falling stock prices.

Although foreigners unloaded shares worth 8 trillion won (about $8.4 billion) since the beginning of this year, foreign institutional investors and funds such as Macquarie and UBS have been raising their stakes in 24 companies listed on the KOSPI and the Kosdaq markets that have growth potential, the Korea Exchange said Monday.

In a public disclosure, Macquarie Bank said that it increased its stake in Sungjee Construction to 7.8% from 5%. It first acquired a 5% share of the builder on Jan. 2. The firm’s 5.11% stake is held by the Korea Corporate Governance Fund, better known as the Jang Ha-sung fund, which decided to purchase it to improve its governance structure and transparency. Deutsche Bank AG, London also holds a 6.9% stake in Sungjee.

Swiss investment bank UBS purchased an additional 1.16% share of NCsoft, increasing its total holdings to 5.09% of the country’s biggest game developer. Morgan Stanley Investment of Singapore publicly stated that it purchased a 5.17% stake in Cheil Industries. T. Rowe Price International also bought more than 5% of the shares of Samsung Fine Chemical. Foreign buying of Kosdaq shares actively started with Taiwan’s Human Technologies acquiring an 11.27% stake in Semics, a manufacturer of semiconductor testing equipment. Oak Asia Infrastructure has a 16.43% stake in CDNetworks through a third-party allotment, becoming the biggest shareholder. Schroder Investment Management said it raised its share of Mode Tour to 7.42% from 6.22% last year.

The Financial Supervisory Service said a total of nine foreign institutional investors and funds reported that they increased their shareholdings in six companies on the main bourse and three companies on the tech-heavy Kosdaq this month. Under the current securities rules, all investors are required to file a public notice when they purchase or hold more than a 5% share in listed companies. (The Korea Times)