SEOUL, July 7 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean listed companies awarded nearly 2 trillion won worth of stock options in the first half of the year amid a bullish stock market and their efforts to lure talent, a corporate tracker said Wednesday.
Executives and employees of the listed firms received stock options worth 1.98 trillion won (US$1.74 billion) in the January-June period, well above 1.4 trillion won for all of 2020, according to CEO Score.
The surge was attributed to the bullish run of the local bourse and corporate efforts to attract talented staff.
Local listed companies have been increasing their stock options since 2018, with the amount coming to 6.1 trillion won over the past five years.
Internet portal giant Naver gave the largest amount of stock options with around 1.2 trillion won over the cited period, becoming the top stock option awarder for the three years since 2019.
Rival Kakao came next with 488.6 billion won, followed by pharmaceutical giant Celltrion with 485.3 billion won.
By sector, stock options awarded by companies in the services industry were the largest at 2.4 trillion won, trailed by those in the pharmaceutical and bio industry with 1.7 trillion won.
Executives accounted for 57.2 percent of stock option receivers in 2017, but rank-and-file employees began to take up more than 50 percent from 2019, according to CEO Score.