Samsung reaps bumper first-quarter profit

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Samsung Electronics Co Ltd saw a 45% jump in profit for January-March.

The surge comes from robust sales of smartphones, TVs and home appliances, though chip division earnings are seen tumbling after a storm suspended production at its U.S. plant.

Spending more time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, consumers have splashed out on an array of high-margin consumer electronics which in turn has helped cause a global shortage of semiconductors.

Operating profit for the South Korean tech giant in the quarter is expected to have climbed to 9.3 trillion won ($8.2 billion), according to a Refinitiv SmartEstimate.

That would mark Samsung’s highest operating income level for the first quarter since 2018. Revenue likely rose 12%.

Samsung is scheduled to announce preliminary first-quarter results on Wednesday.

In particular, its mobile division looks like it had a stand-out quarter, benefiting from the launch of its Galaxy S21 series in mid-January – more than a month ahead of the flagship model’s usual annual release schedule.

The world’s largest smartphone maker is estimated to have cornered roughly 23% of global market in the quarter, thanks to that launch and cheaper-than-usual pricing for its premium devices, according to Counterpoint Research.

That compares with 20% market share in the same quarter a year ago and 16% market share in the previous quarter when arch-rival Apple Inc released the iPhone 12.

High-margin accessories such as Galaxy Buds did brisk business as well, analysts said. They estimate operating profit for the division likely soared by more than 1 trillion won from a year earlier to about 4.15 trillion won.

Samsung’s TV and home appliance business is expected to see operating profit more than double to around 1 trillion won.

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