Korean firms‘ profitability falls in 2011
Korea's overall corporate profitability deteriorated in 2011 from a year earlier in the face of sluggish global economic growth, the central bank said Monday.
The average ratio of operating profit to sales, a key barometer of profitability, dropped to 5.4 percent in 2011, compared with 7.2 percent tallied a year earlier, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said in a report based on a survey of 1,663 companies.
The 2011 number was the lowest since the BOK started compiling data in 2003.
"With the exception of autos, the profit ratio of both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sector fell last year compared to 2010," the BOK said in a press release. It said profits were further hurt by the rise in the price of commodities.
The report also showed their sales growth dipping to 14.1 percent from 16.9 percent last year, and the total asset growth rate trailing off to 8.3 percent from 10.5 percent reached in 2010.
The average debt-equity ratio, a barometer of corporate indebtedness, hit 99.4 percent as of the end of last year, up from 95.0 percent the previous year.
The borrowed money dependency, another indicator of corporate stability, moved up 25.3 percent from 24.3 percent.
By sector, only autos were able to maintain an average ratio of operating profit to sales at 8.2 percent last year with shipbuilding, machinery, electronics, petrochemicals and textiles all losing ground.
Profits for electricity, gas, construction and the service sector fell off from the previous year, according to the report.
The data came as the South Korean economy expanded just 3.6 percent last year as the global economy experienced lackluster growth. The central bank, meanwhile, said economic growth is expected to slow to 3.5 percent this year, which could undermine business profits. (Yonhap)