The pre-tax profits of the top 10 conglomerates dropped 15 percent last year, and leaving out perennial fat cat Samsung Electronics, more than 30 percent.
In the Samsung Group itself, profits over the last year fell 15 percent but without Samsung Electronics a massive 77 percent.
Market researcher FnGuide analyzed the performance of 87 affiliates of the nation's top 10 conglomerates, including Hyundai Motor, LG, Samsung and SK and found that their pre-tax profits last year totaled W50.9 trillion, down from W59.8 trillion a year earlier (US$1=W1,024). But if Samsung Electronics is excluded, combined profits fell from W39 trillion to W26.7 trillion.
All of the conglomerates except SK Group saw earnings deteriorate in 2013. Hyundai Heavy Industries' profits plunged 82 percent due to a shipbuilding industry slump compounded by increased competition, while steelmaker POSCO, which recently began widespread restructuring, saw profits decline 41 percent.
Samsung Group's 17 affiliates saw profits drop to around W31 trillion, but without Samsung Electronics they fell to W2.3 trillion.