South Korea's major conglomerates posted downbeat operating earnings in the first half from a year ago due to weak global demand for major products, including memory chips, industry data showed Sunday.
The combined operating profits of 90 listed companies affiliated with the nation's top 10 business groups totaled 21.3 trillion won ($17.5 billion) in the first six months of this year, 53.5 percent down from a year earlier, according to market researcher Inforbix's analysis of their semiannual reports.
The slump was mostly attributable to lackluster earnings by semiconductor manufacturers, which account for about one-fifth of the nation's total exports, amid weak memory chip market.
Samsung Group, the nation's top conglomerate, saw its operating earnings dip 65.9 percent on-year to 7.9 trillion won over the period as its flagship unit Samsung Electronics Co. grappled with the tepid memory chip and handset market.
SK Group's profits tumbled 61.1 percent to 5.2 trillion won because its chipmaking unit SK hynix Inc. suffered a 83.9 percent plunge in its operating earnings due to the softening chip prices.
In contrast, Hyundai Motor Group's operating earnings jumped 38.6 percent to 3.4 trillion won thanks to weak local currency and strong demand for new models. (Yonhap)