UPDATE : 2019.4.23 TUE 09:10
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SK Telecom Q3 net doubles on equity ties with chipmaking affiliate

SK Telecom Co., South Korea's top mobile carrier, said Monday its third-quarter net profit more than doubled from a year earlier, helped by gains from equity ties with chipmaker SK hynix Inc.

Net income reached 793 billion won (US$710 million) in the July-September period, compared with a profit of 322 billion won for the same period the previous year, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Operating profit fell 7.5 percent on-year to 392.4 billion won, while sales moved up 4.7 percent to 444.2 billion won over the cited period.

Operating profit fell short of the median estimate of 411.6 billion won tallied in a survey by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency.

SK Telecom that said while its sales increased on the back of the rising number of subscribers to mobile services, its operating profit lost ground due to increased marketing expenditure.

Its net profit, however, increased due to gains from equity ties with South Korea's No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. SK Telecom is currently the biggest shareholder for SK hynix, with its stake standing at around 20 percent.

The country's No. 1 mobile carrier said its service subscribers numbered 30.16 million, up 705,000 from a year earlier. Subscribers for its long-term evolution (LTE) network services came to 22.5 million, taking up 74.8 percent of the combined users.

SK Telecom said its affiliate SK Broadband Co. also saw its sales increase 1.2 percent on-year in the third quarter to 760 billion won due to the rising number of clients for Internet protocol television (IPTV) services.

SK Planet Co., the operator of leading e-commerce site 11Street, also saw its sales rise 5.8 percent over the cited period to 285.1 billion won.

The mobile carrier said it plans to continue to tap deeper into the artificial intelligence and "Internet of Things" businesses. In August, the company launched a portable edition of its AI speaker NUGU.

The company also said it has been joining forces with partners from home and abroad to develop self-driving automobile technologies, including Nvidia Corp.

Shares of SK Telecom closed at 260,000 won on the Seoul bourse on Monday, down 2.26 percent from the pervious session.

Hwi Won  edt@koeapost.com

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