Corporate mergers and acquisitions by South Korean firms dropped for the second year in a row in 2016 as local conglomerates remained reluctant to streamline their business, the antitrust watchdog said Wednesday.
The value of reported M&As reached 26.3 trillion won (US$23.3 billion) in 2016, down sharply from 56.3 trillion won tallied a year earlier, according to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).
The number of merger cases also dropped to 490 from 543 over the cited period.
The FTC said domestic companies, especially large business groups, remained lukewarm in concluding merger deals despite the nationwide corporate restructuring efforts.
Twenty-seven conglomerates, which are on the FTC's watch list, concluded 122 merger deals last year, worth 11.1 trillion won, down from 150 cases and 26.7 trillion won, respectively, from the previous year.
Last year's biggest deal was Lotte Chemical Corp.'s takeover of a chemical unit of Samsung SDI Co., worth 2.8 trillion won.
On the other hand, massive M&A deals involving foreign companies rose to 156 cases in 2016 from 135 the previous year, with the combined value reaching 567.3 trillion won, up from 325.6 trillion won.
According to the South Korean antitrust law, all companies doing business in the country with 200 billion won in total assets or revenue are required to report their merger plans with a firm whose total assets or revenue tops 20 billion won to the FTC. (Yonhap)