SEOUL, June 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's major firms saw their earnings nearly double to hit a 20-year high in 2021, despite the prolonged coronavirus pandemic, a corporate tracker said Wednesday.
The combined bottom line of the country's leading 1,000 companies by sales stood at 127.1 trillion won (US$98 billion) last year, up 99.6 percent from a year earlier and the largest tally since 2001, according to the Korea CXO Institute.
A total of 21 companies registered a net profit of 1 trillion won or more in 2021, up from 13 a year earlier.
Global tech titan Samsung Electronics Co. posted the largest bottom line among the companies with nearly 31 trillion won, up from 15.6 trillion won a year earlier.
State-run Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) chalked off the biggest net loss of 5.6 trillion won last year, a sharp turnaround from a net income of around 1.9 trillion won the previous year.
The institute also said the 1,000 firms' total operating income surged 55 percent on-year to 145.5 trillion won in 2021.
Samsung Electronics recorded the largest operating profit of some 32 trillion won, up more than 11 trillion won from a year earlier and accounting for 22 percent of the total.
Chip giant SK hynix Inc. and six other companies -- top container shipper HMM Co., steel behemoth POSCO Holdings, No. 2 steelmaker Hyundai Steel Co., top chemicals firm LG Chem Ltd., No.2 automaker Kia Corp. and top airline Korean Air Lines Co. -- saw their operating income rise by more than 1 trillion won in 2021.
KEPCO swung to an operating loss of 7.4 trillion won last year from an operating income of 2.78 trillion won as the state utility was hammered by soaring costs amid a freeze in electricity rates.
(News Focus) No parcel day: Why S. Korean delivery workers are taking a day off on Aug. 14
Advertising controversy grips S. Korean mukbang YouTubers
Seoul's last-ditch home supply plan still in doubt over its viability
Korean foodmakers ramp up overseas push amid COVID-19 pandemic
Bumpy road lies ahead for Samsung, even after heir avoids detention