SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s state pension provider snapped up chemical and biopharmaceutical shares in the second quarter of the year, a financial information provider said Thursday.

The National Pension Service (NPS) held stakes of 5 percent or more in 299 companies traded on the country’s major and secondary bourses as of Tuesday, according to FnGuide.

Of the total, the state pension operator has raised holdings of shares in 123 firms since the end of the first quarter, with game software maker DoubleU Games Co. and 12 others newly included in the big-stake list.

The NPS jacked up its interests in chemical giant LG Chem Ltd. and 11 other chemical companies over the cited period, the largest among 53 industrial sectors.

The pension operator also increased holdings of shares in 10 semiconductor and related equipment makers and eight pharmaceutical companies.

In contrast, leading air carrier Korean Air Lines Co., top movie theater operator CJ CGV and 22 issues were excluded from the NPS’ big-stake list.

Among large caps, the NPS increased its stake in top-cap Samsung Electronics Co. to 11.1 percent from 11.08 percent over the cited period. Its holdings of chip giant SK hynix Inc. rose to 11.6 percent from 11.08 percent.

But the pension operator cut its holdings of internet giant Kakao to 9.9 percent from 10.02 percent, with its stake in leading gaming firm NCsoft Corp. inching down to 11.22 percent from 11.88 percent.

NPS holdings of shares in those big-stake firms were valued at 124.3 trillion won (US$104 billion) as of Tuesday, up about 24 percent from end-March.

The NPS is one of the world’s largest pension funds, with assets under its management reaching more than 700 trillion won.