[Courtesy of KB Financial]
South Korea’s KB Financial Group Inc. recorded double-digit growth in its net profit to achieve its highest-ever earnings in 2023.
According to KB Financial Group on Wednesday, its net profit amounted to 4.63 trillion won ($3.49 billion) in 2023, up 11.5 percent from 4.15 trillion won in 2022.
In the fourth quarter alone, net profit came to 261.5 billion won, down from the third quarter’s 1.37 trillion won.
“There were one-time costs, including 200 billion won for voluntary retirement expenses, 245 billion won for inclusive finance policies at banks, and an additional allowance of 555 billion won for potential losses in real estate project financing (PF),” the group said.
KB Financial Group, in the meantime, is expected to position itself as the country’s leading financial company, outpacing four others in net profit. The four are Shinhan Financial Group Co., Woori Financial Group Inc., Hana Financial Group Inc., Nonghyup Financial Group Inc., and KB Financial Group Inc.
Shinhan Financial Group took the lead in 2022 but market expectations are that KB Financial Group is expected to regain the top position.
KB Financial Group’s solid earnings is attributable to the strong performance of major units, including KB Kookmin Bank.
The bank’s net profit for 2023 totaled 3.26 trillion won, up 8.9 percent from 2022. This was attributed to growth in corporate loans centered on large corporates and an increase in interest income due to expanded net interest margins.
Corporate loans increased by 7.7 percent as of end-2023 compared to end-2022, largely due to a significant increase of 30.1 percent in corporate loans amid a contraction in the corporate bond issuance market.
KB Securities Co.’s net profit for 2023 increased by 107.5 percent to 389.6 billion won compared to the previous year, driven by increased sales of asset management products and increased profitability through successful large-scale mergers and acquisitions.
KB Insurance Co. recorded a net profit of 752.9 billion won last year, a 35.1 percent increase from 557.2 billion won in 2022.
KB Financial Group has set its dividend per share at 3,060 won, including the dividend already paid of 1,530 won, which was increased by about 4 percent from the dividend per share of 2,950 won in 2022.
Additionally, it has decided to carry out buyback and sale of its shares worth 320 billion won.
Meanwhile, the Industrial Bank of Korea posted 2.68 trillion won in net profit for 2023, up by 500 million won compared to the previous year.
Internet-only KakaoBank Corp. saw its highest-ever net profit last year, increasing by 34.9 percent from the previous year to 354.9 billion won, led by an increase in low interest loans.
Meritz Financial Group Inc. posted a net profit of 2.13 trillion won in 2023, up 30.05 percent from previous year. Operating profit gained 33.77 percent to 2.94 trillion won.
By Chae Jong-won, Kim Hee-rae, Park Na-eun, and Chang Iou-chung
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