April 18, 2024

KT Business

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KT’s 2023 sales rise to all-time yearly high on wireless, internet business

3 min read
KT is Korea's second-largest mobile carrier
KT is Korea’s second-largest mobile carrier

South Korea’s leading telecommunications company KT Corp. on Thursday posted record annual sales revenue for 2023, buoyed by steady growth in its wireless, media and internet businesses.

The country’s second-largest mobile carrier after SK Telecom Co. saw its sales on a consolidated basis rise 2.9% to 26.39 trillion won ($19.9 billion) last year from 25.65 trillion won a year earlier.

Consolidated operating profit, however, fell 2.4% on-year to 1.65 trillion won from 1.69 trillion won, KT said in a regulatory filing.

The company said its full-year operating profit shrank due to the high comparison base in the year prior when it booked hefty one-off gains.

Net profit declined 29% to 988.7 billion won from 1.39 trillion won.

In the fourth quarter, the company saw its operating profit rise 75.4% to 265.6 billion won from 151.4 billion won in the year-earlier period. The quarterly operating profit came in below the market consensus of 276.2 billion won.

However, it turned to the red on the bottom line on higher operating costs due to increased content purchases and a loss from its broadcasting subsidiary KT Skylife Co.

KT's headquarters in Seoul
KT’s headquarters in Seoul

The telecom giant posted 41.7 billion won in net loss in the fourth quarter, compared with a net profit of 242.7 billion won in the year-earlier period.

Fourth-quarter sales rose 1.8% on year to 6.7 trillion won from 6.58 trillion won.

Shares of KT were 1.7% lower at 37,500 won in late Thursday trade in Seoul, underperforming the broader benchmark Kospi index’s 0.2% gain.

GROWTH ACROSS THE BOARD

Annual sales from KT’s mainstay mobile business rose 2.3% to 6.87 trillion won on an increase in the number of fifth-generation network service users and stronger demand for roaming services.

The number of the company’s 5G mobile service subscribers reached 9.83 million, accounting for 73% of its entire mobile service users.

KT CEO Kim Young-shub
KT CEO Kim Young-shub

KT’s revenue from its cable services inched up 1% to 5.27 trillion won in 2023.

Revenue from corporate services gained 2% to 3.46 trillion won on the back of steady growth in the artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) businesses.

Last October, KG unveiled Mi:dm, a large language model (LLM)-based generative AI service for corporate clients.

KT has partnered with local AI startups Upstage and Quanda to jointly develop advanced AI platforms.

KT has also invested 33 billion won in Rebellions Inc., a Korean AI chip design startup, which aims to outrival Qualcomm in chip design capabilities.

AFFILIATES ALSO PERFORMED WELL

BC Card, KT’s credit card affiliate, saw its sales rise 3.3% last year.

KT is expanding its AI service for corporate clients as a new growth driver
KT is expanding its AI service for corporate clients as a new growth driver

K Bank, the digital banking unit of the telecom giant, saw its deposit balance stand at 19.1 trillion won at the end of 2023, up 30.8% from a year earlier. Outstanding loans stood at 13.8 trillion won, up 27.8% from a year ago.

K Bank’s user base rose to 9.53 million at end-2023 from 8.2 million.

KT Estate Inc.’s sales were 594.5 billion won, a 21.8% on-year increase while KT Cloud Co. saw its sales jump 57% to 678.3 billion won.

KT Studio Genie Co., the telecom firm’s entertainment business unit, released 14 original drama series last year, with strong sales in overseas markets.

KT said it will dole out dividends of 1,960 won a share to shareholders registered at the end of 2023. It will also buy 27.1 billion won worth of treasury shares from the market and retire them to enhance shareholder value.

Write to Ji-Eun Jeong at [email protected]

In-Soo Nam edited this article.


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