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KRX lifts suspension of Samsung BioLogics stock trading

The Korea Exchange, South Korea’s sole securities market operator, decided Monday to resume transactions of Samsung BioLogics shares, about a month after the company was slapped with a trading suspension on accusations of accounting misconduct.

Following the decision, investors are allowed to trade Samsung BioLogics shares on the main bourse Kospi as per normal starting Tuesday. 

The KRX said in a release that BioLogics’ improving profitability overshadows concerns about business continuity, and immediate financial instability is unlikely.

However, the market operator raised doubts about transparency in its business operations, vowing close oversight of the company’s internal control for the next three years.

The decision came after a four-hour session by a seven-member committee made up of external experts and a representative of the KRX, which kicked off at 2 p.m.

The panel was designed to decide the fate of BioLogics, after market authorities said on Nov. 14 that it had committed an accounting breach that led to inflation of its profit.

The panel had three options: to resume trading of its stocks; give it a one-year probation period to amend the accounting error before allowing its stock transactions; or delist the company from the stock market.

Transactions of Samsung Biologics’ securities have been suspended on the main bourse since Nov. 14. Its market cap stood at 22.1 trillion won ($19.6 billion).

Ahead of the session, KRX Chairman Jung Ji-won said in a press conference Monday that market uncertainties due to BioLogics’ trading suspension are “inappropriate.”

Samsung BioLogics is Korea’s second-largest biotech company by market cap. It is the drugmaker arm of Korea’s largest conglomerate, Samsung. Major shareholders include Samsung C&T and Samsung Electronics, which own 43.44 percent and 31.49 percent of the biotech firm, respectively.

By Son Ji-hyoung