Late founder Woo Sang-ki of Sindoricoh Co. steadily upheld the motto of the Kaesong merchants; “No debts, and one well,” throughout his adult life in the running of his businesses. In line with the founder’s motto, the company never borrowed money when it didn’t need to helping the company make a profit every year since its founding until last year.
The motto implies no borrowing and digging one well. As its bank account is always full of cash, the company paid a high dividend to its investors every year.
Chairman Woo Seok-hyong, the eldest son of the late chairman, and his family have been able to save a lot of money from the dividends they got from the company for their shareholdings, which also strengthened their power over the company’s management. The chairman is the largest shareholder of the company’s stock at 11.7 percent of total outstanding shares, followed by his younger brother Ja-hyong with 6.37 percent, to bring the shares held by the owning family to 48.7 percent.
According to the Korea Stock Exchange and the Korea Listed Companies Association, Sindoricoh’s debt ratio came to a mere 9.93 percent, the 9th lowest of the debt ratios of listed companies.
Sindoricoh started as a trading company back in 1960, It was in 1969 when the company picked up the office equipment business in partnership with Japan’s Ricoh selling and leasing copiers, facsimiles and printers, to name a few.
The company’s sales revenue last year amounted to 507.2 billion won with operating profit of 16.2 billion won. As of June 30, the company’s cash holdings came to 559.9 billion won, which is mostly deposited in the bank. Interest earnings from the deposits amounted to 9.3 billion won in 2016 and 11.7 billion won in 2015.
The company considered investing in a private equity fund to boost its profits, but gave up on the idea. The company has been conservative in the running of its operation to take good care of its major shareholders. The company has been providing from 10 billion won to 20 billion won in annual dividend payments, which shows that the dividends amounted to about 36 percent of its net profit every year since 1999.
The family that owns the company holds some 48.7 percent of the total outstanding shares and has been earning around 10 billion won in dividends annually.
Sindoricoh SDR, an affiliate, which is controlled by the Woo family, holds 22.6 percent of the outstanding shares of Sindoricoh, the mother company, while another affiliate, Sindoricoh System, which is also a family controlled affiliate, owns 6.05 percent of the parent company’s shares.
Sindoricoh SDR has a number of the Woo family members as shareholders, led by Chairman Woo, who owns 31.8 percent of the outstanding shares, and his younger brother Ja-hyong is right behind him with 22.4 a percent stake. Sindoricoh System owns 29.18 percent.
Sindoricoh SDR is a real estate company launched in 1967, later adding the communication equipment business located in the Sindoricoh Building in the Gangnam area in southern Seoul, near the POSCO Interchange.
Sindoricoh System, set up in 1988, has no business of its own, except that it controls a number of affiliates as a holding company. Last year, its dividend earnings came to 1.3 billion won from Sindoricoh and gave 1.1 billion won to shareholders. Chairman Woo’s oldest son, Seung-hyup holds around 40 percent of Sindoricoh shares and rumors say he will maneuver to take over from his father as the chairman of Sindoricoh in the future by boosting his shareholdings in the mother company through Sindoricoh System.
Sindoricoh has zeroed in on one way of making office automation machines since its establishment in 1960, and it has grown with its customers and the world based on “Technology Spirit.”