South Korean energy and telecom conglomerate SK Group sold the most debt among major business groups this year amid low market rates, industry data showed Saturday.
According to the data compiled by Infomax, the financial news and information arm of Yonhap News Agency, SK Corp. and other affiliates of the group sold a combined 4.32 trillion won (US$4.04 billion) this year as of Friday. This was followed by retail giant Lotte that sold 4.26 trillion won worth of debts, with tech giant LG Group issuing 3.32 trillion won and Hyundai Motor Group reporting 2.61 trillion won in bonds being sold. Heavy machinery conglomerate Doosan also sold 1.82 trillion won in debts through the year.
SK affiliates sold the largest amount of debt to refinance maturing debt and to capitalize on strong demand for their debt offering amid improved earnings.
Leading SK's debt offering was SK Corp., the de facto holding firm of the group, which floated 1.4 trillion won worth of corporate debt this year, as it attempted to finance a series of corporate takeovers and stake investments.
SK Telecom Co. came next with 650 billion won, followed by SK Engineering & Construction Co. with 480 billion won, the data showed.
In the case of Lotte, Hotel Lotte Co. raised 1.05 trillion won by selling debts this year, followed by Lotte Shopping Co., which sold 960 billion won worth of corporate debt through Friday. Lotte Rental came next with 590 billion won worth of debt offering, and Lotte Chilsung Beverage's total reached 400 billion won.
A huge chunk of the proceeds from the debt sale by Lotte affiliates was used to repay or refinance debt, according to the data.
Last month, the Bank of Korea raised the key rate by a quarter percentage point to 1.5 percent for the first time in 6 1/2 years, citing favorable economic conditions and low inflation pressure. (Yonhap)
Kim Jung-mi firstname.lastname@example.org
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