Samsung posts first profit rise in a year
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest memory chipmaker, on Friday reported its first increase in profit in four quarters, helped by improving margins in its flat panel display and handset businesses.
However, the strong performance of the liquid crystal display and handset divisions in the third quarter was offset by a steep decline in the price of memory chips. Samsung, the world’s second-largest LCD maker, predicted that earnings would continue trending upward in the fourth quarter on stronger seasonal demand for mobile phones and LCD TVs. ”The company will maintain its momentum as the fourth quarter, a high-volume season, arrives and steady demand for major products like memory chips, mobile phones, LCD panels and TVs continues to grow,” said Chu Woo-sik, head of Samsung’s investor relations team. Net profit at Samsung increased one per cent from a year ago to Won2,191bn in the third quarter and shot up 54 per cent from the previous quarter. Sales increased 9.6 per cent year-on-year to a record Won16,681bn. But analysts expect further declines in memory chip prices, which is likely to weigh on Samsung’s performance for the rest of this year before an anticipated bottoming in the industry in the first quarter of next year. ”With the down-trending memory industry, we sense limited upside potential,” said Chung Chang-won at Lehman Brothers in a recent report. The semiconductor division, which generated more than 70 per cent of Samsung’s operating profit last year, suffered a 28 per cent drop in operating profit as D-Ram prices fell back in September after a brief rebound in the summer. The company said it would continue to cut costs through rapid technology migration. Samsung’s LCD and handset businesses made a strong turnaround, boasting operating profit ratios of 17 per cent and 12 per cent respectively. Operating profit from Samsung’s LCD division more than quadrupled to about Won670bn as flat panel prices recovered amid a supply shortage. Earlier this week, Samsung’s cross-town rival LG.Philips LCD also reported its biggest quarterly profit in more than three years. Samsung said it would strengthen its position in the large-size TV market above 46-inch models by boosting the operations of its eighth-generation production line. Samsung continued efforts to increase market share in the mobile phone business. It sold a record 42.6m mobile phones in the third quarter as it launched new models and accelerated its push into the low-end market. It aims to sell 157m units for the full year to cement its position as the world’s second-largest handset maker. Samsung’s digital media and home appliance businesses remained in the red on a parent level but on a consolidated basis including sales by overseas units, the divisions posted operating profits of Won240bn and Won100bn respectively. Shares in Samsung rose 1.1 per cent to Won561,000 in morning trade. But the shares are down about 11 per cent this year, compared to a 43.5 per cent rise in the broader market, amid growing investor concerns about Samsung’s stalled growth.
Источник: Financial Times
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