SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s large companies increased their investments by more than 7 percent in the first nine months of this year as part of efforts to find future growth engines despite the coronavirus pandemic, a corporate tracker said Wednesday.
Combined capital spending by 336 out of the country’s top 500 businesses came to 124.4 trillion won (US$105 billion) in the January-September period, up 7.3 percent from a year earlier, according to CEO Score.
Firms in information and technology, electric and electronics sectors jacked up facility investments by more than 12 trillion won in the first three quarters.
In contrast, those in petrochemicals, auto, parts, shipbuilding, machinery and steel industries cut back on capital spending in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Global tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. was the biggest spender with nearly 37 trillion won, up 28 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Chip behemoth SK hynix Inc. came next with some 2.4 trillion won, followed by IT service provider Samsung SDS Co. with 413.4 billion won, LG Electronics Inc. with 405.5 billion won and telecom titan KT Corp. with 379.4 billion won.
About 49 percent of the total firms, or 163, decreased their facility investments in the nine-month period from a year earlier.
Oil refiner GS Caltex Co. posted the largest drop of 638.4 billion won, trailed by top mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. with 517.4 billion won and leading automaker Hyundai Motor Co. with 361.4 billion won.
A total of 301 large companies had a combined workforce of 1.16 million as of end-September this year, up 0.45 percent from a year earlier, according to CEO Score.