Korean Inc. projected to have ended an average 56% higher in Q4

2021.01.11 12:42:49 | 2021.01.11 12:45:17

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Listed Korean companies on average are projected to have ended the final quarter of 2020 more than 50 percent higher from a year-ago period, while a quarter would have done worse.

According to South Korean financial data provider FnGuide Inc., 192 of 256 listed companies with a consensus compiled by three or more brokerages are expected to report better earnings in the fourth quarter ended December last year from the same period a year ago.

Biggest winners are cited to be Seegene, LG Chem, Samsung SDI, Kumho Petrochemical, EcoPro BM, S-Oil, Yuhan, Naver, and SK Hynix.

Korea’s Covid-19 test kit provider Seegene, in particular, is projected to have reaped 241 billion won in operating profit in the October-December period, up a whopping 4,625 percent from 5.1 billion won in the same period in 2019. The company’s stock surged 523 percent last year.

Seon Min-jung, a researcher at Hana Financial Investment, said that export value of Seegene’s Covid-19 test kits in October and November has already exceeded that of the third-quarter total amid high demand from Europe and South America that have been grappling with a spirally resurge in Covid-19 cases. Kit exports would have surged significantly in December, she said.

Major secondary battery players are also expected to deliver strong earnings in the fourth quarter from a year ago.

Samsung SDI, for example, is projected to have raised 322.7 billion won in operating income in the October-December period, up by more than 1,500 percent from 20.1 billion won in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Lee Soon-hak, an analyst at Hanwha Investment & Securities, said that the company is expected to deliver record earnings in the fourth quarter on brisk sales of mid- to large-size battery cells despite adjustment in seasonal inventory of small-size battery cells and polarizing films.

The company is likely to see diversified electric vehicle clients, which can lead to production facility expansion.

Samsung SDI stocks surged 171 percent last year.

EcoPro BM, producer of high-nickel cathode materials, is also estimated to have earned nearly 20 billion won in operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2020, significantly up from 1.6 billion won in the year before.

Korea’s major platform operators Naver and Kakao that were behind last year’s stock market rally are also expected to deliver solid fourth-quarter results.

Naver is estimated to report 77 percent higher operating profit in the October-December period from a year ago and Kakao 81 percent.

FnGuide data also showed that 26 companies that reported losses in the fourth quarter of 2019 – namely LG Display, E-mart, Korea Electric Power Corporation, Korean Air, OCI, HMM, and Hyundai Rotem – will shift to profit.

Meanwhile, 64 of 256 listed companies are expected to report sluggish earnings. Shinsegae is projected to deliver a 47 percent plunge in operating profit and Aekyung Industrial 48 percent.

Korean Inc. is projected to have earned 34.86 trillion won in operating profit in the fourth quarter of last year, up 55.6 percent from 22.4 trillion won in the same period a year ago.

By Kim Jung-beom and Lee Eun-joo

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]