SEOUL, May 4 (Korea Bizwire) — The debt held by South Korea’s leading conglomerates increased 2.5 percent in 2015 from a year earlier, with five of them logging debt ratios exceeding 200 percent, corporate data showed Wednesday.
According to the data by market researcher CEO Score, 252 affiliates of the country’s top 30 business groups held a combined 279.88 trillion won (US$243.3 billion) in debt at the end of last year, up from 272.97 trillion won a year earlier.
The figure did not include debt owed by financial companies.
Over the cited period, their short-term debts that mature within a year grew 4.5 percent on-year to 112.30 trillion won. Their long-term debts also expanded 1.3 percent to 167.58 trillion won.
But their debt-to-equity ratio fell 1.4 percentage points to 75.5 percent.
Five of them, however, posted debt ratios over 200 percent. They include Hanjin, Kumho Asiana, Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME).
In particular, DSME, an embattled shipbuilder going through a ramped-up corporate restructuring, saw its debt ratio spike to 7,308.5 percent at the end of last year from the 453.2 percent tallied a year earlier, according to the data.