Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s No. 1 maker of computer memory chips and flat screen TVs, said net profit plummeted 72 percent in the first quarter as the global economic slump continued to suppress consumer demand.
Samsung earned 619.20 billion won (US$463.5 million) in the three months ended March 31, it said yesterday in a regulatory filing. The company earned net profit of 2.19 trillion won a year earlier.
Samsung is also the world’s leading manufacturer of liquid-crystal displays (LCDs).
It is the world’s second-largest manufacturer of mobile phones behind Finland’s Nokia.
Quarterly sales rose 8.5 percent to 18.57 trillion won from 17.11 trillion won a year earlier.
The result was still an improvement over the fourth quarter of last year, when Samsung posted its first-ever net loss for a three-month period as the global economic slump hit prices and demand.
Samsung said in a release that market conditions were improving, citing the “strong recovery from the fourth quarter” as semiconductor prices stabilized, increasing profit margins for mobile phones and company efforts to control marketing and other expenditures.
Still, officials were cautious about the outlook for the business in the coming months.
“The global economy is likely to continue to recover in the second quarter but lingering uncertainty means it is difficult to predict a sharp improvement in demand or the business environment in the near term,” Robert Yi, head of investor relations, said in the release.
Separately, Samsung’s struggling rival Hynix Semiconductor Inc reported its sixth straight quarterly net loss, though the total amount of red ink shrank.
Hynix’s loss totaled 1.18 trillion won in the first quarter, the company said in a regulatory filing. That was an improvement on the 1.69 trillion won in red ink recorded in the fourth quarter of last year. Sales fell 24 percent to 1.2 trillion won.