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Ahnlab Tumbles as Founder Exits Race for Presidency: Seoul Mover

Ahnlab Inc. Chairman Ahn Cheol Soo
Ahn Cheol Soo, chairman of Ahnlab Inc. Source: Yonhap News via Bloomberg

Ahnlab Inc., South Korea’s biggest anti-virus software maker, tumbled by the daily limit in Seoul after its founder withdrew from the country’s presidential race.

The stock sank 15 percent to 35,250 won on the Korea Exchange, the lowest close since Sept. 27, 2011. The tech-laden Kosdaq Index, where Ahnlab is listed, dropped 0.5 percent.

Ahnlab founder and independent candidate Ahn Cheol Soo withdrew from next month’s presidential election and will back the main opposition’s nominee, Moon Jae In, presenting a single challenger to the ruling New Frontier Party. Ahnlab shares surged to a record on Jan. 4 on speculation Ahn would run for president.

“The stock has now fallen to the level where Ahn fever started to take off in 2011,” Min Kim, an analyst at Hyundai Securities Co., said by telephone today. “Those who made bets that the company would benefit from ties to Ahn if he got elected have been disappointed, and sentiment is unlikely to improve anytime soon.”

NFP candidate Park Geun Hye, who is seeking to become the first female leader of Asia’s fourth-biggest economy, led in previous polls for a three-way race and is ahead in the latest survey for a two-way contest with Moon. The pair will have to contend with rising household debt in South Korea and have vowed to boost jobs and reduce the income gap.

Sunny Electronics Corp., whose vice president previously worked for Ahnlab, also slumped by the 15 percent daily limit, to close at 2,190 won today. Shinwoo Co., where Park’s sister-in-law once served as a non-executive director, rallied 15 percent to 1,480 won.

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