Corporate Korea has turned in a disappointing score card for 2013.
The combined pre-tax profits of 87 affiliates of the nation's 10 major conglomerates, dropped almost 15 percent to around 50 billion U.S. dollars last year from 2012, according to data compiled by market researcher FnGuide on Wednesday.
When excluding Samsung Electronics, the nation's most profitable company, the drop is even more pronounced at more than 30 percent.
The sagging profitability of local comapnies also hit corporate tax collections.
The government's tax revenues from the companies totalled only 10 billion dollars in 2013, down nearly six percent from a year earlier.
While citing the slowdown in emerging markets for the reason behind the disappointing performance of Korean companies last year, market watchers expect a 20 percent
growth in corporate profits this year, helped by moderate recovery in advanced economies.
They add, however, that the double digit growth expected in 2014 is largely due to the sluggish performance in the past three years.
"Acutally we have not seen significant signals for the Korean exporters' earnings to turn around in 2014 but I just want to point out the base effect. It's been lowered down too much."
Also, market watchers point out that a slowing Chinese economy could hurt the profitability of Korean companies this year.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News.