SEOUL, May 16 (Korea Bizwire) — Major companies in South Korea saw their total first-quarter operating income plunge almost 50 percent on-year due to sluggish chip exports, a corporate tracker said Tuesday.
The combined operating income of 309 out of South Korea’s top 500 companies by sales came to 25.9 trillion won (US$19.4 billion) in the January-March period, down 49 percent from a year earlier, according to CEO Score.
It represented the third consecutive quarter of declines. Their operating profit dropped 11.4 percent on-year in the third quarter of 2022 and 69.1 percent in the fourth quarter.
Yet their total sales stood at 700.8 trillion won in the first quarter, up 6.8 percent from the same period last year.
The corporations cover those which have disclosed their financial statements for the first three months of the year.
Eleven industrial sectors suffered setbacks, with eight industries posting gains.
The information technology, electric and electronics industry registered the biggest decline, with its operating balance switching to a loss of 794 billion won from a profit of 20.9 trillion won.
In contrast, automakers and auto parts manufacturers saw their combined operating income surge nearly 82 percent on-year to some 8 trillion won in the first quarter.
Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s top memory chip maker, posted the largest on-year drop on plunging semiconductor exports, with its first-quarter operating income nose-diving 95.5 percent to a 14-year low of 640.2 billion won.
Another chip giant, SK hynix Inc., swung to an operating loss of 3.4 trillion won, the worst quarterly record since SK Group’s takeover of the firm in 2012.
Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor Co.’s operating income came to 3.59 trillion won in the first quarter, up 86.3 percent, or 1.66 trillion won, from a year earlier, which was the largest amount of increase among those firms.