Sabtu, 26 April 2008

SEOUL, South Korea - Samsung Electronics said Friday its profit rose 37 percent in the first quarter as strength in mobile phones and liquid crystal displays offset weakness in semiconductors.

But Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. said its profit plummeted 95 percent in the January-March quarter due to costs of its exit from next-generation video HD DVD business.

And Samung memory chip rival Hynix Semiconductor Inc. said it swung to a quarterly loss on a sharp decline in chip prices amid oversupply in the industry.

Samsung, the world's second-largest producer of mobile phones after Nokia Corp., earned 2.19 trillion won ($2.2 billion) in the January-March period compared with 1.6 trillion won a year earlier. Sales rose 19 percent to 17.11 trillion won ($17.19 billion).

"Strong growth in emerging markets was balanced by the more difficult economic situation in both North America and Europe," said David Steel, vice president of Samsung's telecommunications business.

Steel said handset sales rose 33 percent to 46.3 million in the quarter versus the previous year and matched Samsung's record total in the fourth quarter. That came amid a 13 percent contraction in the global handset market in the traditionally slow first three months of the year.

Samsung said its sales of liquid crystal displays rose 53 percent from a year ago while semiconductor revenues declined 2 percent amid traditionally slow seasonal demand and weak pricing.

The company is the world's largest producer of both products.

Investors pushed Samsung shares up 4.4 percent to close at 690,000 won ($694).

Hynix Semiconductor, the world's second-largest manufacturer of memory chips after Samsung, posted a net loss of 674.79 billion won ($678.43 million) for the quarter versus a profit of 418.11 billion won a year earlier.

Sales fell 35 percent to 1.573 trillion won ($1.58 billion).

Hynix shares fell 1.4 percent to 28,100 won ($28).

In Japan, Toshiba said its profit fell to 1.25 billion yen ($12 million) in the January-March quarter from 26.17 billion yen a year earlier. Revenue fell 3 percent from a year earlier to 2.09 trillion yen ($20 billion).

"Our net profit sharply fell due to the end of (the) HD DVD business," Toshiba spokeswoman Hiroko Mochida said.

Most of the decline came from shutting down assembly lines and dealing with inventory, according to Toshiba.

Toshiba announced the end of its HD DVD business in February. The technology had been competing against Blu-ray disc technology, backed by Sony Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic brand products, five major Hollywood movie studios and others.

For the year through March, Toshiba's net profit declined 7 percent to 127.4 billion yen ($1.2 billion).

Toshiba's shares fell 2 percent to 848 yen ($8.15) in trading Friday.

Sharp Corp., meanwhile, said its profit edged up 0.2 percent in the fiscal year ended March 31, as solid demand for its liquid crystal display panels offset sliding prices for other products.

Osaka-based Sharp, known for its Aquos LCD TVs, said net profit for fiscal 2007 was 101.9 billion yen ($977.6 million), up from 101.7 billion yen a year ago. The company didn't disclose details of fourth-quarter results.

Sharp shares rose 1.1 percent to 1,797 yen ($17).

Separately, Samsung and Japan's Sony Corp. announced they have signed a contract to expand production of LCDs at their joint-venture manufacturing facility in South Korea to meet global demand for televisions.

Production is targeted to begin in the second quarter of 2009, the companies said in a statement released by Samsung.


Associated Press writers Shino Yuasa, Yuri Kageyama and Joseph Coleman in Tokyo contributed to this report.


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