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41 firms added to antitrust watch list

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows the exterior of the Korea Fair Trade Commission in the central administrative city of Sejong. (Yonhap News TV)
This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows the exterior of the Korea Fair Trade Commission in the central administrative city of Sejong. (Yonhap News TV)
The number of South Korean companies affiliated with large business groups under tight supervision rose by 41 in the May-July period, data showed Tuesday, as conglomerates expanded their business scopes to search for new growth engines.

The total number of affiliates on the Korea Fair Trade Commission's (KFTC) list reached 2,653 as of end-July, compared with 2,612 three months earlier, according to the data compiled by the antitrust regulator.

Major business groups newly launched or acquired 106 units, while offloading 65 others from affiliate lists in the three month period.

The rise came as conglomerates made forays into new business areas, and overhauled business portfolios to beef up competitiveness amid the pandemic, according to the watchdog.

The country's largest family-run conglomerate Samsung Group held 59 affiliates under its wing as of Aug. 1. Automaking group Hyundai Motor Group had 53 affiliates and energy-to-telecom giant SK Group held 156 units.

Under South Korean fair trade law, affiliates of large conglomerates with assets exceeding 10 trillion won ($8.9 billion) are restricted from making equity investments in their affiliated companies or offering loan guarantees to each other.

The conglomerates are also required to make public filings on their non-listed affiliates and are barred from engaging in excessive trading among affiliates. (Yonhap)
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