June 17, 2019

Korea’s top 10 biz groups cash holdings reach W118.5tr

PUBLISHED : October 07, 2018 - 11:34

UPDATED : October 07, 2018 - 11:34

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[THE INVESTOR] Cash holdings by Korea’s top 10 conglomerates rose to 118.5 trillion won (US$104.8 billion) as of late June, mainly due to profits generated by various business operations, a report by a corporate information provider said on October 7.

According to, the cash held by the 94 listed affiliates of the largest business groups increased by little over 11.8 trillion won, or 11.1 percent, compared to 2017.

Of the total, Samsung Group, South Korea’s largest family-run conglomerate of chaebol, saw its cash reserve surge by more than 4.6 trillion won in one year to 46.3 trillion won. The higher numbers reflect the hefty earnings generated by Samsung Electronics, which benefited from high demand for semiconductors.

Hanwha, a chemical, construction and arms business, and home appliance-centered LG reported 3.4 trillion won and 3.3 trillion won increases, respectively, in cash in the one-year period, with their totals hitting 7.7 trillion won and 13 trillion won.

Hyundai Motor Group, which counts Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors as its flagships, possessed 18.5 trillion won in funds, up 1.6 trillion won from a year earlier, with numbers for SK, one of the largest chip makers in the world, rising 76 billion won to 14.2 trillion won.

Nonghyup Financial Group’s cash holdings were up 11.4 billion won to 76.1 billion won, data by the local tracker of large conglomerates showed.

It said that while many companies held more money, some had less, because of various developments. Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, had 5.1 trillion won in cash, down 669 billion from a year earlier, with GS, POSCO, and Lotte all reported less reserves.

GS held 2.9 trillion won in cash, with steelmaker POSCO having just under 3.1 trillion won. Retail giant Lotte controlled 6.4 trillion won in ready reserves. said that the general rise in cash can be attributed to the companies’ greater operating profits, which reached 72 trillion won, up 15.8 percent, or 9.8 trillion won, from a year earlier.

It said such numbers translated into 65.1 trillion won in cash for the companies, up 13.8 percent compared to the year before.

Despite the general increase, the cash generated by business activities from operating profits edged down 1.6 percentage points to 90.4 percent in the first half of 2018 from 92 percent for the same six-month period in 2017, the research company said.

“This translates into a decrease in profits and dynamism for certain companies,” a researcher said.

He said, in particular, numbers for Lotte and Hyundai Heavy were not good and could be a source on concern going forward unless things improve.

By Ahn Sung-mi and news wires (

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