Estimates of big caps’ Q4 earnings fall

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Estimates of big caps’ Q4 earnings fall

Fourth-quarter earnings of Korea’s major listed companies are expected to hover below earlier forecasts due to a protracted global economic slump, data showed yesterday.

The combined operating profit of 116 listed firms is estimated at 26.5 trillion won ($24.9 billion) for the October-December period, according to the data based on predictions made by local brokerage houses and compiled by local financial information provider FnGuide.

The estimate is down 1.13 percent from the 26.8 trillion won, the securities companies predicted in December.

“In the wake of the slump in the U.S. and China, listed companies are expected to show lower-than-expected performances for the fourth quarter,” said Lim Jong-pil, a researcher at Hyundai Securities.

Steelmakers led the decline following an industry-wide slump, with No. 1 player Posco expected to post an operating profit of 847 billion won for the fourth quarter, down 16.8 percent from a year earlier.

The operating profit of Hyundai Heavy Industries, the nation’s top shipbuilder, is estimated to have declined 34.2 percent on-year to 578.7 billion won.

Local utility companies such as state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) are also among the worst performers, buffeted by excessively low rates amid soaring electricity consumption in winter, FnGuide added.

In contrast, the operating profit of tech giant Samsung Electronics is estimated to have surged 59.27 percent on-year to a record high of 8.4 trillion won for the last quarter on robust global sales. It is scheduled to unveil quarterly earnings guidance on Tuesday.

LG Electronics is also expected to have swung to a profit in the fourth quarter by reporting a comparable figure of 1.8 trillion won, the data added.

Hyundai Motor, Korea’s top automaker, is expected to register a 9.6 percent increase in operating profit for 2012 despite the local currency’s rise against the Japanese yen, which usually hurts exporters’ overseas sales.

Construction companies also performed better in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, with the operating profit of Hyundai E&C estimated to have increased 47.5 percent.

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