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Number of holding firms grows: watchdog

The number of holding companies in South Korea grew over the past year as businesses continued efforts to streamline their corporate governance structure, the corporate watchdog said Thursday.

The number of holding firms in South Korea stood at 105 as of end-September, up 9 from the same period a year earlier, according to a report by the Fair Trade Commission.

Over the period, 24 firms were added to the list, while 15 were taken off. Of the total, 13 are financial holding companies, while the remainder are non-financial ones.

The report showed that 26 companies belong to large business groups, which are subject to the government’s restraints on mutual investments and loan guarantees. The corresponding figure for last year was 22.

Their average asset holdings amounted to 1.93 trillion won ($1.7 billion). Assets owned by financial holding firms averaged 9.17 trillion won, while those held by non-banking holding companies stood at 916.1 billion won, the report showed.

The number of holding firms has been on the rise, but the pace slowed somewhat after peaking in September 2008, the FTC said.

The nation introduced the holding company system back in 1999 as part of efforts to enhance transparency of corporate governance.

The watchdog expected the number of holding companies to increase at a faster pace if the government clears uncertainties lingering over procedures by finalizing related law revisions. 

(Yonhap News)