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Chips, chemicals drive 74% gain in South Korean company profits

Exporters rebounded in 2021 while utilities, builders hurt by higher costs

An LG Chem plant. Operating profit at South Korean chemical manufacturers skyrocketed 350% last year. (Photo courtesy of LG Chem)

SEOUL -- Operating profit at South Korean listed companies surged 74% in 2021, as the country's core industries of electronics, chemicals and steel rebounded from the pandemic-induced global downturn the previous year.

Consolidated operating profit at 595 companies traded on the Korea Exchange rose to 183 trillion won ($150 billion) on revenue growth of 20%. Their operating margin reached 8%, up 2.5 percentage points.

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