South Korean non-financial companies’ revenue in the first quarter grew from a year-ago period, marking the first on-year gain in nine quarters thanks to the country’s robust exports and a recovery in domestic demand, the Korean central bank data showed on Thursday.
Revenue for 20,914 companies (11,300 manufacturers and 9,614 non-manufacturers subject to external audit) increased 7.4 percent in the January-March period compared to a year ago, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The figure is a statistical estimate based on regulatory filings from 3,862 sample companies (2,358 manufacturers and 1,504 non-manufacturers).
It was the first on-year growth in quarterly revenue in nine quarters since the last quarter of 2018, driven by the recovery in the global economy from the coronavirus pandemic fallout amid rapid vaccination rollouts, which has also helped Korea’s exports surge and consumption pick up.
Revenue of manufacturers increased 10.4 percent in the first three months from a year ago after gaining 1.3 percent in the previous quarter. The corresponding figure of non-manufacturers also increased 3.3 percent, reversing from 4.1 percent fall.
Profitability indicators also have improved. The companies’ ratio of operating profit to revenue reached 6.4 percent in the first quarter, higher than 4.2 percent a year ago and 3.3 percent in the previous quarter. The net income before tax to sales gained 7.9 percent, up from 4.4 percent a year ago and 0.4 percent in the previous quarter.
Financial stability measured by total borrowings to total assets and interest coverage ratio also improved, but the debt ratio increased slightly.
By Minu Kim
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