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October 24, 2018

Debt of major Korean public firms on rise

PUBLISHED : October 07, 2018 - 12:50

UPDATED : October 07, 2018 - 16:59

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[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s public sector debt growth is likely to rise this year, government data showed on October 7, raising concerns about Seoul’s financial burdens.

The combined debt of 39 major South Korean public sector firms is forecast to reach 480.8 trillion won (US$425 billion) this year, according to the data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted to the National Assembly.

The debt had declined for four straight years to 472.3 trillion in 2017 after hitting a record high of 498.5 trillion won in 2013.

The ministry said the combined debt of the 39 major public firms could increase to 539 trillion won in 2022 as they increase their investments and expand their businesses.

The listed firms include the Korea Land and Housing Corp. and the Korea Electric Power Corp. The ministry said the debt of the Korea Land and Housing Corp. could reach 150.4 trillion won in 2022 from an estimated 128.1 trillion won this year.

In August, the ministry said the 39 public firms are required to maintain their debt-to-total asset ratio at an average of 152 percent in the next five years, down from 167 percent in 2017, to improve their balance sheets.

By Ahn Sung-mi and news wires (sahn@heraldcorp.com)

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