South Korea’s state-run utility company Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) reported its second consecutive operating loss for the first quarter ended March due to a surge in fuel costs and decreased power output from cheaper energy sources like coal.
KEPCO said in a regulatory filing on Monday that its operating loss came to 127.6 billion won ($119.2 million) on a consolidated basis for the first three month period, following an operating loss of 129.4 billion won in the fourth quarter of last year. Sales rose 3.7 percent to 15.71 trillion won, but net loss reached 250.4 billion won.
The utility company attributed its poor performance to increased sales and administrative costs, up 15.7 percent from the previous year. Fuel costs soared 26.6 percent on year to 5.44 trillion won due to a rise in international fuel prices and a fall in nuclear power consumption, according to the company.
Even 10 units of the country’s nuclear power plants have been at rest for regular and additional maintenance for safety reasons. To make up for the shortfall, KEPCO had to spend an additional 3.5 trillion won for power purchase from private LNG plant operators last year, up 32.6 percent from a year-ago period.
Korea’s KB Securities Co. revised down its price target for KEPCO to 37,000 won from 40,000 won, citing the gloomy outlook for the company despite a slight recovery in nuclear power consumption after the second quarter. KEPCO shares closed Tuesday down 0.94 percent at 36,950 won.
By Kang Doo-soon and Lee Ha-yeon
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