SEJONG, Dec. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean firms’ earnings plunged to a six-year low in 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Thursday.
The combined pretax net profit of 13,429 companies came to 97.7 trillion won (US$82 billion) in 2020, down 3.9 percent from the prior year and marking the third straight year of decline, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
It was the lowest level since the 91.4 trillion won recorded in 2014 and represented the first time for their total bottom line to fall below the 100 trillion-won mark in six years.
Hit hardest were hotels and restaurants, whose net income tumbled 887 percent in 2020 from a year earlier.
Their combined sales reached 2,360 trillion won last year, down 3.2 percent from a year earlier. Per-company sales averaged 180.6 billion won, down 4.6 percent from a year earlier.
The companies cover those which have 50 or more regular workers and 300 million won or more in paid-in capital.
Those companies had a combined workforce of 4.71 million last year, up 1.1 percent from the previous year.
Their domestic and overseas subsidiaries totaled 5,823 last year, 2.2 percent more than a year earlier.
Their total spending on research and development amounted to 63.7 trillion won last year, up 5.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the data.