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SK Telecom 2013 profit jumps 44%

SK Telecom, South Korea's biggest wireless operator, said on Tuesday its net profit for 2013 jumped 44.3 per cent on increased value of its stock investment and expansion of lucrative 4G services.

SEOUL: SK Telecom, South Korea's biggest wireless operator, said on Tuesday its net profit for 2013 jumped 44.3 per cent on increased value of its stock investment and expansion of lucrative 4G services.

Net profit jumped to 1.6 trillion won ($1.48 billion) from 1.1 trillion won in 2012, while operating profit rose 16.2 per cent to 2.0 trillion won from 1.7 trillion won.

The firm said net profit was boosted by the increased value of its stock holdings in SK Hynix, the world's number two memory chipmaker whose annual net profit for 2013 hit a record high.

Sales also rose 2.9 per cent to 16.6 trillion won, the company said in a statement.

Net profit for October-December came in at 293.6 billion won, down 43 per cent from a year ago when the firm's bottom line was boosted by one-off sales of property and a stake in steel giant POSCO.

Operating profit for the fourth-quarter fell 5.4 per cent on-year to 509.7 billion on heavy spending for marketing, while sales rose 3.3 per cent to 4.29 trillion won.

The company said the number of subscribers to its 4G long-term evolution (LTE) service rose to 13.5 million at the end of last year -- about a half of its entire customer base.

A year ago, the firm had 7.53 million customers for the LTE service, which offers quicker connection speed.

South Korea -- one of the world's most-wired nations -- has about 37 million smartphone owners -- in a total population of 50 million.

At least 27 million -- or more than 70 per cent -- are using LTE services, according to data from the country's three wireless operators.

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