The combined operating profit of companies listed on South Korea’s main bourse Kospi grew nearly 10 percent in the first quarter from a year ago but without the country’s bellwether Samsung Electronics Co., it shrank 6.4 percent on year, data showed.
According to Korea Exchange on Wednesday, the combined operating profit of 544 Kospi-listed companies with a fiscal year ending December grew 9.96 percent on year to 42.81 trillion won ($39.7 billion) on a consolidated basis in the January-March period this year. Their combined net profit gained 2.6 percent to 32.83 trillion won and sales were up 4.8 percent to 463.89 trillion won over the same period. Operating margin in the first quarter also improved to 9.2 percent from 8.8 percent a year earlier.
But when excluding Samsung Electronics, which accounts for 13.1 percent of total sales generated by Kospi-listed firms, both the combined operating profit and net profit shrank 6.4 percent and 13.0 percent, respectively, over the cited period, suggesting the country’s heavy reliance on a small number of large companies for the economy. Sales were up 2.9 percent.
Operating margin of the Kospi-listed companies without the tech titan also contracted to 6.7 percent from 7.4 percent a year earlier.
The consolidated debt ratio of the Kospi-listed firms stood at 100.5 percent as of the end of March, up 0.4 percentage point from December 31, 2017. Of the 544 companies, 76.1 percent or 413 firms generated net profit and the other 103 firms net loss. One company was excluded from the calculation due to an absence of related data for the first quarter.
The combined operating profit of 834 companies listed on the tech-heavy secondary Kosdaq shriveled 9.2 percent on year to 2.12 trillion won in the first quarter. But their net profit jumped 35.9 percent to 1.82 trillion won on growth in non-operating gains such as profits from investments. Their combined sales increased 3 percent to 41.195 trillion won.
By Chung Seul-gi and Cho Jeehyun
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