The net profit of South Korean firms listed on the country’s main stock exchange fell 6.72 percent last year, the bourse operator said on April 3.
The combined net profit of 540 Kospi-listed companies, excluding financial firms, came to 107.96 trillion won ($95.19 billion) in 2018 on a consolidated basis, down from the previous year’s 115.74 trillion won, according to the Korea Exchange.
The combined annual sales, however, rose 4.76 percent from the previous year to come to 1,894.66 trillion won in 2018, and their operating profits inched up 0.32 percent to 157.68 trillion won, it added.
Their weaker profitability seems to be attributable to slowing demand and unfavorable external conditions last year, while a higher interest rate and corporate taxes put more burdens on companies, according to analysts.
“Bleak global economic circumstances due to trade frictions between the United States and China affected local exporters, particularly chipmakers, in the second half of last year,” said Cho Yong-jun, an expert at Hana Financial Investment.
Excluding top-cap Samsung Electronics, the listed firms posted 1,650.9 trillion won in sales in 2018, up 5.22 percent from a year earlier. But their operating profit skidded 4.57 percent to 98.8 trillion won, and net profit tumbled 13.51 percent to 63.61 trillion won, the data showed.
A total of 402 firms, or 62.33 percent, were in the black last year, while the remainder showed operating losses, according to the KRX.
Forty financial companies, including banks, brokerages and financial holding firms, saw their combined net profit go up 0.98 percent on-year to 20.3 trillion won in 2018, and operating profits advance 7.44 percent to 27.6 trillion won, the KRX noted.
The secondary Kosdaq-listed firms had relatively poorer performances last year, according to the KRX.
The combined turnover of 911 KOSDAQ-listed companies increased 4.69 percent to 169.1 trillion won. But operating profit fell 11.58 percent to 8.4 trillion won, and net profit decreased 8.66 percent to 4.3 trillion won, the latest data showed.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (email@example.com)