SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- Cashable assets held by South Korea's top 10 conglomerates jumped 10 percent in 2012 from a year ago, data showed Monday, in the latest sign that they remain reluctant to invest amid persistent economic uncertainties.
The combined cashable assets of 83 companies affiliated with the conglomerates stood at 123.7 trillion won (US$111.1 billion) as of the end of 2012, compared with 112.4 trillion won a year earlier, according to data compiled by Chaebul.com, which tracks the country's conglomerates, known as chaebol in Korean.
Cashable assets cover cash, cash equivalents and other financial products with a maturity of less than three months. A rise in cashable assets indicates an improvement in corporate liquidity.
The conglomerates held 76.8 trillion won in cash at the end of December, accounting for 62.1 percent of the total combined cashable assets, while depositing the rest in financial firms.
The move underscored companies' unwillingness to invest amid economic uncertainties at home and abroad. South Korea has called on companies to follow through with their plans to invest and hire employees as part of its efforts to boost Asia's fourth-largest economy that has showed signs of slowing down.
"Cashable assets held by companies are on the rise due to economic uncertainties," said Jeong Sun-sup, the head of Chaebul.com.
Facility investment gained 6.5 percent on-month in February, though it plunged 18.2 percent compared with a year earlier, according to data compiled by the statistics office. The on-year shrinkage is attributed to sluggish investment in machinery, electrical and electronic equipment.
Samsung Group, South Korea's largest conglomerate, saw its cashable assets surge 33.3 percent on-year to reach 44.3 trillion won, according to the data. Samsung Group includes its flagship company, Samsung Electronics Co., the world's top maker of smartphones.
The cashable assets held by Hyundai Motor Group reached 34.5 trillion won last year, up 25.4 percent from 2011. Hyundai Motor Group's flagship company is Hyundai Motor, which forms the world's fifth-largest automaker together with its smaller sister company, Kia Motors Corp.
The cashable assets held by Samsung Group and Hyundai Group came to 78.8 trillion won, accounting for 63.7 percent of the total combined cashable assets held by the country's top 10 conglomerates, according to the data.
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