South Korea’s Military Mutual Aid Association (MMAA) continues to benefit from dividend income earned from Mplus Asset Management, which was acquired by the institution and became its subsidiary in 2015.

Mplus Asset Management, an investment firm specializing in commercial real estate investment, recently held its shareholder meeting where a cash dividend of 427.5 won per share was approved, sources familiar with the matter said on April 1.

With this decision, total 1.7 billion won of dividend will be paid out before the end of April, which will consequently reduce its unappropriated retained earnings from 4.5 billion won to about 2.6 billion won.

Mplus Asset Management’s latest dividend was announced two years ago at 1162.5 won per share, with total 4.7 billion won paid in early 2018. Including this amount, Mplus Asset Management has distributed a total of roughly 6.3 billion won worth of dividend payments since it became MMAA’s subsidiary in 2015.

The prime beneficiary of these dividend payments is MMAA, because it owns a 100 percent stake in Mplus Asset Management and therefore receives the entire amount of dividend paid by the asset manager. This dividend income is not substantial compared to tens of billions of won in investment income that MMAA earns annually, but it certainly serves as a source of easily securing extra income.

Mplus Asset Management has continued to generate profit for the last four years: It posted one billion won in net income for 2016, 5.1 billion won for 2017, 600 million won for 2018 and 1.9 billion won for 2019. During this period, Mplus Asset Management paid dividend in 2018 and 2020 when it saw sharp earnings growth in each preceding year.

“Mplus Asset Management is acting as a cash cow for MMAA as it pays out dividend based on its consistent profit generation,” a market watcher said. “It has some degree of volatility in its earnings but has continued to generate profit, which is positive for MMAA.”

(By reporter Kim Si-mok)