Seegene sees income surge 30 times in Covid-19 year, Emart benefit from online shopping

2021.02.19 12:46:29 | 2021.02.19 13:27:32

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Kosdaq-listed diagnostic test kit maker Seegene Inc. saw profit balloon by 30 times and sales nearly 10 times in a year due to explosive worldwide demand for its advanced Covid-19 test kits, thrusting the mid-sized firm instantly in the ranks of the $1 billion sales club.

The company disclosed on Thursday that it registered an operating profit of 676.2 billion won in 2020, 30 times bigger than a year ago. Revenue grew nine-fold to 1.12 trillion won, with operating margin or profit made from every sale, reaching a stunning 60 percent. Its sales of 1,600 kits last year match the entire record for the last 10 years. Profit expanded 4,922 percent in the fourth quarter alone to 257.5 billion won as it began to roll out diagnostic equipment installed in medical facilities for vaccine program.

Demand is likely to jump this year as it readies kit capable of identifying variants to Covid-19 and tests are usually mandatory ahead of vaccination.

Big-box store Emart Inc. on the same day confirmed strong results thanks to online and grocery sales boosted by stay-at-home trends, while petrochemical and bio sectors also fared well despite Covid-19 challenges last year.

Emart under retail giant Shinsegae Group reported Thursday that final consolidated operating profit of 237.2 billion won ($214.38 million) for last year, up 57.4 percent on year, with its sales climbing 15.6 percent on year to record 22.03 trillion won.

For the fourth quarter ended December, it posted 84.9 billion won in operating profit, swinging from loss from a year ago but down 43.9 percent from a quarter ago. Sales rose 18.5 percent on year to 5.7 trillion won but fell 3.1 percent on quarter.

The retailer attributed the surge in demand for fresh food and the stellar performance of its e-commerce app SSG.com. Under strict social-distancing rules, more people ordered groceries from home via app, instead of visiting offline stores, and cook more at home. The online marketplace SSG.com saw its transaction volume jump by 37 percent from a year ago to 3.92 trillion won, while its operating losses narrowed to 46.9 billion won from 81.9 billion in 2019. Warehouse chain Traders registered an on-year income growth of 58.7 percent on sales growth of 23.9 percent.

Hanwha Solutions Co., chemical manufacturing unit under South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Group, fared well on the stable demand for petrochemical products and a growth of its green energy business.

The energy solution firm reported that its operating profit expanded by 29.4 percent from 2019 to 594.1 billion won, while its sales slipped 2.8 percent totaling 9.19 trillion won. The income growth was propelled by its chemical division, which raked in 381.2 billion won in profit, up 47.5 percent against a year earlier due to an increase in prices of its mainstay products. Hanwha Q Cell, its solar power business brand, earned 190.4 billion won in operating income last year, a 5.2 percent increase from the previous year. The main driver was a boost in sales of solar modules amid global shift toward greener energy.

By Kim Jung-beom, Park Dae-eui, Kim Byung-ho and Lee Soo-min

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