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Major companies’ Q3 profits fall sharply over trade disputes, economic slump

A majority of top South Korean companies listed on the nation’s major bourse saw their operating profits fall rapidly in the third quarter on-year over protracted trade disputes and the stagnant global economy, data showed Monday.

According to Infobigs, a data analysis unit of Yonhap News Agency, the combined operating profits of 90 affiliates from top 10 conglomerates plummeted 75 percent between July and September to 6.16 trillion won ($5.3 billion) from 25.28 trillion won in the same period last year. The figure is less than half of Samsung Electronics’ operating profit of 13.9 trillion won in the third quarter last year. 


The accumulated operating profits between January and September of the 90 companies also declined 61.38 percent to 27.46 trillion won from 71.14 trillion won, it added.

Of the 10 conglomerates, Hyundai Motor Group was the only one that saw an increase in its operating profit at 1.02 trillion won, a 476 percent growth from the third quarter last year. The auto giant, in the same period last year, was in the red due to engine recall costs and falling sales in China. But saw its operating profit rebound over the currency advantage of the weakening Korean won and operation uncertainty cleared from the annual wage negotiation between the labor and the management ending without the former holding a sit-in protest.

Samsung Group affiliates, meanwhile, saw a dramatic decrease of 79.19 percent to 3.05 trillion won as well as SK Group with minus 87.41 percent mainly due to falling chip sales.

LG Group’s third-quarter operating profit nosedived by the biggest margin of 99.14 percent hit hard LG Display, as it turned to the red over plunging TV panel prices. Transport giant Hanjin Group also suffered from rising costs that dragged down the operating profit by nearly 70 percent.

Other top 10 conglomerates, Lotte, Hanwha and GS saw their operating profits drop sharply by 34.99 percent, 49.39 percent and 10.37 percent, respectively. The operating profits of shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries and retail giant Shinsegae also dropped 37.58 percent and 18.3 percent, respectively.

By Cho Chung-un (