[Photo by Yonhap]
Korea’s telecom giant KT has been amongst the select survivors of the heavy stock market routs in Seoul with its stock price soaring 26 percent over the last three months and eying a market cap of 10 trillion won ($7.71 billion) for the first time in a decade.
KT has been deemed a safe bet in a bear market. It delivered strong earnings in the first quarter and indulged foreign investors with generous dividends.
The stock hit intraday high of 38,500 won on May 31 to briefly command a market cap of 10 trillion won for the first time in June 2013. The stock must close above 38,300 won to achieve the milestone.
Shares on Wednesday fell 1.1 percent to 35,650 won.
Investors so far have been pleased with its digital transition.
CEO Ku Hyeon-mo pledged a business shift from telecommunication to digital platform, including artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and B2B cloud services. The firm’s digital and B2B business sales increased 11.7 percent to 1.6 trillion won in the first quarter from the same period two years ago. The share to total sale rose from 38 percent to 41 percent.
Strong digital business compensated for stagnated income in teleco business.
Its operating profit in the first quarter was 12-year quarterly best of 626.6 billion won. It pledged to return 50 percent of net income to its shareholders in cash dividend.
By Kim Je-gwan and Jenny Lee
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]