Sat, Jan 07, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Samsung sees record Q4 operating profit

AFP, SEOUL

Samsung Electronics Co yesterday said it expected a record operating profit in the fourth quarter of 5.2 trillion won (US$4.5 billion), up 73 percent year-on-year thanks mainly to strong smartphone sales.

The South Korean firm, the world’s largest maker of flat panels, memory chips, flat-screen televisions and smartphones, was publishing its earnings guidance before official results expected later this month.

It estimated sales of 47 trillion won in the last quarter, a 12 percent rise from a year earlier.

For the full year, Samsung said it expected an operating profit of 16.2 trillion won on record sales of 164.7 trillion won, up 6.5 percent from the previous year.

The company gave no details in its earnings guidance and did not predict net profit. It said estimates may differ from the results because it has not completed an audit.

Analysts cited by Dow Jones Newswires said the company benefited from better sales of mobile phones and high-end televisions in the fourth quarter, despite falling prices for chips and flat panels.

They said the recent sealing of a deal to sell Samsung’s hard disk drive business to Seagate Technology for US$1.4 billion in cash and shares also boosted overall income.

In the third quarter, the company achieved an operating profit of 4.25 trillion won on sales of 41.27 trillion won.

Samsung overtook US rival Apple Inc in the third quarter to become the world’s largest seller of smartphones. It sold 27.8 million smartphones during the quarter compared with Apple’s 17.1 million, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics.

The two firms have been waging a global battle over smartphone and tablet patents, with about 30 lawsuits in 10 countries since April last year. However, yesterday’s figures suggested the legal tussle had not significantly affected the South Korean firm’s sales.

“Samsung’s fourth-quarter smartphone shipments are estimated at around 35 million units, which means it will continue to keep its top spot,” Hana Daetoo Securities analyst Lee Ka-Keun said.

However, the maker of the Galaxy mobile devices , failed to win a sales ban on Apple’s latest iPhone in Italy.

A Milan court on Thursday rejected the South Korean firm’s bid to block the iPhone 4S in Italy, said Nam Ki Yung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, confirming an earlier report by Ansa news agency.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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