SEOUL, April 1 (Korea Bizwire) — Listed units of South Korea’s top 10 business groups saw their combined operating income plunge nearly 60 percent in 2019 due to a Sino-U.S. trade war and Japan’s export controls, a market tracker said Wednesday.
The total operating income of 94 non-financial listed firms belonging to the family-controlled conglomerates came to 34.8 trillion won (US$28.5 billion) last year, down 59.9 percent from a year earlier, according to Infobigs, an information and data service on big business.
Samsung and seven other conglomerates suffered declines, while Hyundai Motor Group and Hyundai Heavy Industries Group registered increased operating income, said Infobigs run by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency.
The 12 listed subsidiaries of top conglomerate Samsung Group chalked up 16.2 trillion won in combined operating income last year, down a whopping 65 percent from a year ago.
In particular, operating profit of top-cap Samsung Electronics, the crown jewel of Samsung Group, nose-dived nearly 68 percent to 14.1 trillion won due to its slumping chip business and a base effect.
The combined operating income of 19 SK Group affiliates plummeted 76 percent to 6.2 trillion won, with operating income of flagship SK hynix tumbling about 90 percent to 1.98 trillion won.
LG Group saw the total operating income of its listed units tank 64 percent to 1.6 trillion won, and Lotte Group’s operating profit sank 31.4 percent to 1.85 trillion won.
In contrast, Hyundai Motor Group’s operating income soared 66 percent to 5.9 trillion won thanks to Hyundai Motor Co.’s switch to a profit and a 277 percent jump in operating profit of Kia Motors Corp.
The combined operating income of six Hyundai Heavy Industries Group units skyrocketed 122 percent to 245.9 billion won.
Last year, South Korean companies were hit hard by the blistering trade row between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies.
They also took a blow from Japan’s move in July to slap export controls on chemicals vital to the South Korean chip industry in apparent retaliation against a Seoul court’s ruling last year that ordered Japanese firms to compensate victims of their wartime forced labor.