SEOUL, Jul. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — Large foreign companies operating in South Korea posted strong earnings in 2017, but they were reluctant to create more jobs, a corporate tracker said Wednesday.
The combined operating income of 51 foreign-invested companies, which made the list of the top 500 firms in South Korea, came to 8.6 trillion won (US$7.7 billion) last year, up 15.8 percent from the previous year, according to CEO Score.
Their total sales stood at 163.6 trillion won in 2017, up 9.4 percent from a year earlier.
In contrast, their combined workforce was tallied at 107,940 as of the end of last year, up a mere 1.9 percent from a year earlier.
Of the total companies, 16 cut back on their payrolls, while Starbucks Coffee Korea Co. newly employed 2,320 workers last year, up 21.6 percent from the previous year.
Their total investments rose 24 percent on-year to 5.6 trillion won in 2017, but the figure dropped 7.7 percent on-year, excluding capital spending by No. 3 oil refiner S-Oil Corp.
Capital expenditures by S-Oil, controlled by the world’s largest crude exporter Aramco, came to 2.4 trillion won last year, up a whopping 125 percent from the previous year.
The ratio of their investments to sales reached 3.4 percent last year, less than half the 6.9 percent for South Korean companies.
Only 15 of the foreign companies, including S-Oil and Starbucks Korea, increased both hiring and capital spending in 2017 from a year earlier, according to CEO Score.