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KT&G most lucrative firm among Korea’s top 30 groups: report



South Korea’s tobacco giant KT&G is the most profitable company among the nation’s top 30 conglomerates, while Hanjin Group and Doosan Group, on the contrary, are in urgent need of improving their financial health, data showed Thursday.

Local corporate tracker Korea CXO Institute surveyed the net profit margin of the nation’s top 30 companies between 2008 and 2018 using data submitted to the Korea Fair Trade Commission.

According to the survey, the total revenue generated by the groups amounted to 13,604 trillion won ($10 trillion) during the period. In terms of sales volume, Samsung Group was the largest with 3,070 trillion won. This was followed by Hyundai Motor Group with 1,652 trillion won, SK Group with 1,554 trillion won and LG Group with 1,229 trillion won.

During the same period, Samsung also had the largest net profit. Since 2008, it earned 259 trillion won in net profit. Next was Hyundai Motor with 114 trillion won, SK (91 trillion won) and LG (44 trillion won).

But when it comes to net income margin in proportion to sales, the ranking is changed drastically.

Among the top 30 conglomerates, KT&G was found to have the largest net income margin between 2008 and 2018, meaning a large amount of profit has been accumulated compared to their sales.

KT&G’s cumulative sales were 42 trillion won over the 11 years, the 28th-lowest. But, its net profit came to 10 trillion won, the 11th highest. In terms of the average net income margin during the period, the group had 24.3 percent, the highest among the top 30 conglomerates, on the back of its two high-performing affiliates, KT&G Corp. and Korea Ginseng Corp., according to the institute.

Hyundai Department Store ranked No. 2 with an average net profit rate of 11.8 percent. The average net income margin for the nation’s top four conglomerates was 8.4 percent for Samsung, 6.9 percent for Hyundai Motor, 5.9 percent for SK and 3.5 percent for LG.

On the other hand, Hanjin and Doosan recorded losses among the 30 largest conglomerates. Hanjin has been in the red for eight years between 2008 and 2016 excluding 2010. Doosan also has a cumulative current account deficit of more than 2 trillion won since 2008.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, which will be merged into Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, also logged a net loss of 6.1 trillion won in 2016 and 2017. Kumho Asiana Group too posted an accumulated net loss of 1.5 trillion won for 11 years. 

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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