South Korea's top 100 firms by market capitalization saw their surplus cash tumble nearly 35 percent this year from a year earlier due largely to increased investment, a market tracker said Wednesday.
The leading listed companies had a combined surplus cash flow of 34.1 trillion won (US$31.2 billion) as of the end of September, down 34.7 percent from the end of last year, according to CEO Score.
The tally covers 97 companies out of the total, which had comparable figures. Cash flow refers to the cash that flows into and out of a company, while a surplus cash flow is the cash that exceeds the money required to cover its operating expenses and capital spending.
The nosedive was attributed to the fact that the firms had sharply increased their capital expenditures despite strong earnings.
In the first nine months of this year, their operating cash flow edged up 0.7 percent on-year to 91.9 trillion won, while their investment spiked about 47 percent to 59.5 trillion won.
The top-cap and world's top smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Co. had the largest surplus cash flow of 5.8 trillion won as of end-September, followed by Hanwha Life Insurance Co. with 2.7 trillion won and chip giant SK hynix Inc. with 2.5 trillion won.
Of the total companies, 38 saw their surplus cash flow expanding over the cited period with the remaining 59 firms suffering setbacks.
Leading oil refiner SK Innovation Co. recorded the highest growth rate of 3,620 percent, trailed by online game developer Netmarble Games Corp. with 1,537 percent and rival game publisher NCsoft Corp. with 419 percent, according to CEO Score. (Yonhap)