The Korea Herald


Samsung, LG, Hyundai closely monitoring potential biz fallout from Israel-Hamas conflict

By Yonhap

Published : Oct. 9, 2023 - 21:51

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A flag of Samsung Electronics (Newsis) A flag of Samsung Electronics (Newsis)

Leading South Korean companies are keeping close tabs on the potential business fallout from the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, industry sources said Monday, though no damage has yet been reported among firms operating in the Middle Eastern country.

According to industry officials, Samsung Electronics has initiated a remote work scheme for their employees in the country and are regularly checking the safety of their workers.

Samsung runs a research and development (R&D) center and a separate research institute in Israel. Late last month, Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong visited the R&D center in the country to be briefed on the company's investment in cutting-edge technology research.

LG Electronics, which operates a local sales branch in Tel Aviv, was known to have decided to bring its employees and their families in Israel back home due to safety concerns.

Besides its electronics sales operation in Israel, LG Electronics acquired a controlling stake in Israeli automotive cybersecurity firm Cybellum in 2021.

Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia, which lead the Israeli auto industry in terms of market share, are also "closely monitoring the local situation," according to the companies' representatives.

Industry watchers have expressed concerns that an extended conflict could negatively impact the automakers' sales in Israel.

Korean Air, South Korea's leading air carrier, has canceled its flights from Incheon to Tel Aviv this week due to safety concerns. It, however, has kept in place the returning flights that transport passengers from Tel Aviv to Incheon.

The company said it plans to decide whether to operate the return flights after reviewing the airport situation in Tel Aviv.

Local oil refiners, too, are keeping a close eye on the Middle Eastern situation.

Industry watchers say that the refining industry could potentially see a short-term increase in earnings if the conflict ends up jacking up international oil prices. But a prolonging of the situation could slow down demand and weigh down on net earnings.

"It's still premature to assess the overall impact, but with the global economy in turmoil and demand remaining sluggish, a sharp increase in oil prices could further dampen demand," an oil industry source said.

South Korean builders with projects under way in nearby countries in the Middle East are also on heightened alert.

"The sense of crisis in the Middle East isn't favorable for us," a construction industry representative said, adding the industry as a whole is "observing the situation for now." (Yonhap)