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Samsung profit tops estimates as demand for its memory chips remains strong

Operating income rose to 15.6 trillion won ($14.7 billion) in the three months ended March

Sam Kim | Bloomberg 

samsung

Electronics Co. reported higher-than-projected profit as demand for its remained strong enough to outweigh concerns about display supplies to Apple Inc.

Operating income rose to 15.6 trillion won ($14.7 billion) in the three months ended March, according to preliminary results released Friday from the Suwon, South Korea-based company. That compares with the 14.5 trillion-won average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The first-quarter result, which includes the sales of its marquee unveiled in February, eases concerns about its display business after Apple sold fewer-than-projected X handsets with Samsung-made displays. Still, resilient demand for used in phones and servers could keep the on track to post another year of record profit, after replacing Intel Corp. last year as the world’s biggest chipmaker by sales.

are the loyal son of Samsung,” said Lee Jae-yun, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Co. “Still, momentum may slow toward the end of this year with price rises likely to be less steep than last year.”

The shares of fell 1.6 per cent in early trading in Seoul, as the KOSPI index decline on concern over US tariffs. The stock is down more than 5 per cent this year, after climbing 41 per cent in 2017.

is reporting its first results since de facto chief Jay Y. Lee was released from prison on a suspended sentence for a bribery conviction in February. The 49-year-old vice chairman has since traveled to Europe to meet with business partners and been spotted in Canada. His father, chairman Lee Kun-hee, remains hospitalized after a 2014 heart attack.

Sales for the first quarter climbed to 60 trillion won, compared with the 61.3 trillion won average projection compiled by Bloomberg. Samsung won’t provide net income or break out divisional performance until it releases final results, most likely on April 26, when a conference call is scheduled.

The semiconductor business forms the largest portion of Samsung’s profit. Prices for 128 gigabit MLC NAND flash memory chips fell 10.7 per cent in the March quarter from the December period while contract prices for 32 gigabyte DRAM server modules climbed 5.6 per cent in the same period, according to inSpectrum Tech Inc.

“Prices are expected to remain high,” said Mike Howard, vice president of memory research at French researcher Yole Developpement. “When you consider its entire memory business, there is an excellent chance that it will see higher profits in 2018.”

Last month at a shareholders’ meeting, Samsung reorganized its leadership to separate the roles of business executives and board members, responding to public calls to improve its transparency and accountability. Shareholders also approved a 50:1 stock split that will take effect following a trade suspension from April 30 to May 3.

“Demand for servers canceled out the effect of slow sales for X and premium Chinese smartphones,” Kim Yang-jae, an analyst at KTB Investment & Securities Co., wrote in a report before earnings. “Demand is exceeding market expectations.”

First Published: Fri, April 06 2018. 11:47 IST
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