(ATTN: COMBINES previous stories; ADDS more detail throughout)
SEOUL, Feb. 13 (Yonhap) -- Kakao Corp., the operator of top South Korean messaging app Kakao Talk, said Thursday it swung to a net loss in 2019 despite a jump in sales.
The company said in a regulatory filing that its consolidated net loss came to 339.8 billion won (US$288 million) last year, a turnaround from a 15.9 billion won net profit a year earlier.
Kakao, also a major online portal operator, did not give reasons for its switch to a net loss.
Kakao's operating profit, however, spiked 183 percent to 206.6 billion won, with sales rising 28 percent to an all-time high of 3.09 trillion won.
Last year's operating profit was the largest since Kakao's merger with online portal Daum in 2014.
Kakao said it registered record sales and operating profit, driven by the establishment of a business model focused on Kakao Talk and increased revenue from new business areas.
In the fourth quarter of last year, Kakao chalked up a net loss of 439.8 billion won after losing money during the same period the year before.
Operating income shot up 1,750 percent on-year to 79.4 billion won for the October-December period. Sales surged 29 percent to 867.3 billion won.