May 25, 2020 12:28
Internet upstart Kakao has overtaken stolid auto giant Hyundai in terms of market capitalization, not least thanks to increased use of its apps during lockdown.
Kakao's stock price closed up four percent on May 22 at W247,000 (US$1=W1,240). That translates into a total market cap of W21.51 trillion and put it ninth among listed companies on the Korea Exchange.
Hyundai's shares closed down 2.78 percent at W94,500, resulting in a market cap of W20.19 trillion. But Hyundai still dwarfs Kakao in terms of assets, which total W194 trillion versus Kako's puny W8 trillion.
Kakao's stock price has soared due to stellar first-quarter earnings compounded by expectations over surging online financial transactions and product purchases amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Kakao's first-quarter sales totaled W868.4 billion, while operating profit reached W88.2 billion. Both were records.
According to financial information service FnGuide, Kakao's operating profit is expected to skyrocket 101 percent this year to W415.8 billion.
"Kakao's mobility business including Kakao T Blue Taxi is stabilizing, while financial businesses such as Kakao Pay and Kakao Bank are displaying high growth," an analyst said.
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