South Korean companies set performance records in 2021

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SEOUL, Feb. 11 (UPI) — Many large conglomerates and financial institutions in South Korea are reporting large profits for last year, some attributed to cost-cutting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shinhan Financial, the country’s leading banking group, announced Wednesday it had netted a record-high profit of $3.36 billion for 2021, up 17.7% from a year before.

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Rival KB Financial also posted a net profit of $3.69 billion for last year, up 27.6% from 2020.

Mirae Asset Securities, the country’s largest brokerage house, increased its 2021 operating profit by more than 33 percent to $1.24 billion year-on-year.

Many leading conglomerates, including Samsung Electronics and LG Chem, also logged stellar performances.

Samsung Electronics reported a historic high of $233.9 billion in consolidated revenue for 2021 with an operating income of $43.2 billion, while LG Chem saw its 2021 operating profit almost double to $4.2 billion from a year ago.

Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest maker of memory chips and smartphones. LG Chem is the country’s top chemical company with an affiliate named LG Energy Solution, the world’s No. 2 electric car battery producer.

Major foreign corporations also racked up record performances last year, as demonstrated by U.S. carmaker Tesla and Japan’s biggest company, Toyota Motor.

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Observers point out that the COVID-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguise, although business prospects are not so bright for this year.

“Many Korean corporations put forth great efforts to cut down on costs after the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020. Hence, their profits jumped up last year although their sales were not so high,” Seoul-based business tracker Park Ju-gun told UPI News Korea.

“Things are almost the same for lots of global companies. But many of them are not likely to report outstanding bottom lines this year due to the rampant inflationary pressure across the world,” he said.