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(LEAD) Three firms removed from watchdog's antitrust watch list in Jan.

All Headlines 11:01 February 01, 2017

(ATTN: CORRECTS headline)

SEJONG, Feb. 1 (Yonhap) -- The number of South Korean business groups' affiliates subject to restrictions on mutual investments and loan guarantees dropped slightly last month from a year earlier, the antitrust watchdog said Wednesday.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said the number of firms on its monthly watch list stood at 1,125 as of end-January, down three from the previous month.

The affiliates are owned by the country's 27 largest business groups, including Samsung Group and Hyundai Motor Group.

Thirteen business groups, including Samsung, Hyundai Motor and CJ, added a combined 21 more affiliates through stake purchases and new establishments. On the other hand, 12 conglomerates, including LG and Lotte, removed 24 companies from their wings.

Under South Korea's fair trade law, the affiliates of large business groups with assets of 10 trillion won (US$8.5 billion) or more are restricted from making equity investments in affiliates or offering loan guarantees to one another.

In September, the watchdog raised the asset ceiling from 5 trillion won as part of its deregulation efforts, reducing the number of conglomerates subject to the tough FTC surveillance from 65 to 27.

(LEAD) Three firms removed from watchdog's antitrust watch list in Jan. - 1

brk@yna.co.kr
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