SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) — South Korean listed firms saw their net profit increase nearly 20 percent last year despite the fallout from the pandemic, the bourse operator said Sunday.

The combined annual net income of 694 KOSPI-listed companies, excluding financial firms, came to 63.45 trillion won (US$56.25 billion) on a consolidated basis, up 18.15 percent from the previous year, according to the Korea Exchange (KRX).

Their combined operating profits rose 3.2 percent on-year to 107.4 trillion won, while sales decreased by 3.7 percent to 1,961 trillion won during the cited period, according to the KRX data.

A total of 479 firms, or 69 percent, were in the black, while 215 firms suffered losses.

Sales shrank in the face of the new coronavirus pandemic-related regulations.

Tech and telecommunications enjoyed net income hikes of 56.89 percent and 38.27 percent, respectively, aided by the stay-home trend amid COVID-19 outbreaks.

The secondary KOSDAQ-listed firms also posted gains in their net profits, operating income and sales in 2020, the KRX data revealed.

The combined annual net income of 1,003 KOSDAQ-listed companies, excluding 112 inapplicable firms, came to 4.67 trillion won (US$4.14 billion) on a consolidated basis, up 3.97 percent from the previous year.

Operating profits rose 12.1 percent on-year to 11.37 trillion won, and sales increased by 3.44 percent to 197.14 trillion won during the cited period.

A total of 594 firms, or 59.22 percent, were in the black, while 409 firms registered net losses.