Corporate earnings more than double in 2021 in robust exports

SEOUL– South Korean firms’ earnings more than doubled in 2021 on the back of an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, government data showed Thursday.

The combined pretax net profit of 13,448 major companies came to 222.4 trillion won (US$171.05 billion) last year, up 127.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

It marks the largest-ever gain since the agency began compiling relevant data in 2006.

Their combined sales reached 2,760 trillion won last year, up 16.9 percent from a year earlier. It also marked the largest-ever yearly growth.

The companies cover those that have 50 or more regular workers and 300 million won or more in paid-in capital.

Last year, the country recovered from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Exports rose 25.8 percent on-year to reach an all-time high of US$644.54 billion on solid global demand for semiconductors and petroleum products.

By sector, net income of manufacturers jumped 133.4 percent to 82.1 trillion won last year.

Hotels and restaurants, hit hard by the pandemic in 2020, also shifted to a net profit of 67 billion won.

Those companies had a combined workforce of 4.92 million last year, up 4.3 percent from the previous year.

Of them, regular workers came to 4.31 million, up 2.3 percent on-year, the data showed.

Their domestic and overseas subsidiaries totaled 6,006 last year, 3.1 percent more than a year earlier.

Of them, 2,495 firms, or 26 percent, were in China, down 67 from a year earlier, while the number of subsidiaries in the United States grew by 60 to 1,376, the data showed.

Their total spending on research and development amounted to 66.3 trillion won last year, up 10.2 percent from a year earlier, according to the agency.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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