SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Korea Bizwire) - South Korean listed firms saw their sales edge down in the first nine months of the year but their bottom lines improved on the back of reduced costs for raw materials, the country’s bourse operator said Tuesday.
Sales of 498 firms traded on the main KOSPI market totaled 1,205.6 trillion won (US$1.03 trillion) in the January-September period, slipping 3.24 percent from a year ago, according to the consolidated financial statements compiled by the Korea Exchange (KRX).
Their combined operating profit surged 12.69 percent on-year to 77.5 trillion won, while their net profit gained 11.31 percent to 56.5 trillion won.
The operating profit to sales margin rose 0.91 percentage point to 6.43 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, mainly attributable to the reduced costs of raw materials, particularly oil.
“A sharp drop in global raw material prices helped their operating profit margin improve,” said Park Hee-chan, a senior analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co. “A weakening local currency also benefited local exporting companies like carmakers.”
But the expert noted that the one-off cost-saving factor would not create a virtuous circle of robust sales and demand due to lingering economic uncertainties at home and abroad.
On the secondary KOSDAQ bourse, 635 listed firms posted a combined 91.9 trillion won in sales through September this year, up 6.68 percent from a year earlier, the KRX said.
Their operating profit and net income rose 10.95 percent and 12.82 percent on-year, respectively, to 5.3 trillion won and 3.5 trillion won, respectively.