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Foreign exchange rates, rising costs dent local companies’ Q3 figures

Fluctuating foreign exchange rates and Europe’s financial instability dampened Korean firms’ performances in the third quarter.

According to the financial information provider Fn Guide, 62 percent of listed companies that have posted net profits for the period by Wednesday, saw their net profits fall or move into the red.

As of Wednesday, 91 listed firms posted third-quarter figures, of which 79 disclosed their net figures.

Of the 79, seven companies including Korea Air, LG Display and LG Electronics posted net losses for the period.

Korean Air’s regulatory filing showed that the company lost 524.3 billion won ($470.5 million) during the period, while LG Display and LG Electronics respectively posted net deficits of 687.5 billion won and 413.9 billion won.

The seven firms with net losses are expected to be joined by a number of companies that have yet to disclose third quarter figures. Companies expected by analysts to have lost money during the period include STX Pan Ocean, Korea Gas Corp. and Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co.

The 42 companies that saw net profits decrease include POSCO ― whose net figure fell 83 percent from the previous quarter ― Samsung Card and LG Chem.

In addition, S-Oil and Hyundai Steel, which posted third quarter figures on Thursday, also saw net profits drop in the July-to-September period.

S-Oil’s net profits dropped by 73.6 percent compared to the second quarter of the year to 62.9 billion won, while Hyundai Steel posted net deficit of 127.1 billion won. In the previous quarter, Hyundai Steel posted net profits of 333.8 billion won.

Both companies attributed the drop to the sudden changes in foreign exchange rates that were fueled by the situation in Europe.

The country’s largest mobile carrier SK Telecom also said that its third quarter net profits fell 18 percent from a year ago to 383.9 billion won. The company attributed the drop to increased spending on wireless networks and the cost of spinning off its mobile platform business.

Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the world’s second-largest maker of computer memory chips, also posted a negative net figure for the period.

The company’s net loss came in at 562.6 billion won, much higher than the consensus projection of 231.8 billion won loss. In comparison, Hynix’s net profits for the same period last year had come in at 1.04 trillion won.

By Choi He-suk  (