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(2nd LD) KEPCO suffers record operating loss in 2022 on high fuel costs

Economy 16:25 February 24, 2023

(ATTN: ADDS more details, share prices in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- The state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) said Friday its operating loss more than quintupled on-year to hit a record high last year due to higher fuel costs and limited electricity rate hikes.

Its operating loss came to 32.63 trillion won (US$25.02 billion) in 2022, compared with 5.85 trillion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

It is the largest ever yearly figure the company has logged so far, and the previous record was set in 2021.

Sales grew 17.5 percent on-year to 71.27 trillion won on larger demand. KEPCO also hiked electricity rates three times last year.

But global liquefied natural gas prices more than doubled on-year to 1,564.8 won per ton last year, and the price of soft coal spiked to $359 per ton in 2022 from $139.1 a year earlier, according to government data.

In the fourth quarter alone, operating loss stood at 10.77 trillion won, also an all-time high, the company said.

In the wake of snowballing losses, KEPCO has been implementing a series of self-rescue measures, including the restructuring of overseas businesses, property sales and other cost-cutting moves worth a combined 14.3 trillion won over the next five years.

The company also raised the electricity rates by 13.1 won per kilowatt hour for the first quarter of this year. In a report submitted to the National Assembly, KEPCO called for 51.6 won of rate increases this year.

But the government has sought to freeze public utility fees in the first half of this year amid mounting economic burdens on the people amid high interest rates, rising inflation and an economic slowdown.

KEPCO's shares closed at 18,360 won on the Seoul bourse Friday, up 0.49 percent from the previous session.

This file photo taken May 13, 2022, shows an office of the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. in Seoul. (Yonhap)

This file photo taken May 13, 2022, shows an office of the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. in Seoul. (Yonhap)


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