South Korea's pension fund has increased its stake in a key Samsung affiliate on the back of eased disclosure rules, expanding its clout in the country's most influential business empire, data showed Thursday.
The National Pension Service (NPS) has expanded its holdings in Samsung C&T Corp., the trading arm of Korea's No. 1 conglomerate Samsung Group, to 11.30 percent as of Wednesday from 9.90 percent a month earlier, according to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).
It now trails Samsung SDI Co., the controlling shareholder of Samsung C&T, by only a 2.78 percentage point difference in the stake.
Samsung C&T is considered one of the main affiliates closely linked with the future ownership structure of the family-run firm. It owns an 18.3 percent stake in unlisted Samsung SDS Co. and a 1.5 percent stake in Samsung Everland Inc. -- the two units that Lee Jae-yong, the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., is expected to parlay into inheriting the group from his father Lee Kun-hee, South Korea's richest man.
The senior Lee has maintained his control over the behemoth with a handful of stake in one of Samsung affiliates that own other units under its own wing, an archetype of cross-shareholding structure favored by Korean family-run conglomerates.
The NPS has been aggressive in increasing its stake in big Korean companies, since local capital market rules were amended in late August to allow the pension fund a leeway with disclosing the changes in its equity holdings.
The world's fourth-largest pension fund had had to reveal details each time any changes were made in the holdings in a company in which it owned at least a 10 percent stake.
Since late August, the rule has been eased for the NPS to post the changes within the first 10 days of the next quarter from the day of the purchase or sale.
The pension fund recently said in a regulatory filing that it owns stakes in 26 Korean companies that are subject to the "10 percent rule," FSS data showed.
The NPS became the largest shareholder of Samsung Electronics in the first half of this year after increasing its stake by 0.24 percentage point to 7.43 percent.