Sabtu, 26 April 2008

SEOUL, South Korea - Samsung Electronics said Friday that net profit jumped 37 percent in the first quarter amid strong demand for mobile phones in emerging markets.

Samsung earned 2.19 trillion won ($2.2 billion) in the three months ended March 31, compared with 1.6 trillion won in the same period last year, the company said in a statement to South Korea's financial regulator.

Sales rose 19 percent to 17.11 trillion won ($17.19 billion), the company said.

Samsung said in a separate statement that mobile phone sales "achieved similar volume" to the fourth quarter's record sales of 46.3 million handsets, despite contraction of about 13 percent in the global market.

"Our handset business is growing very strong," Chu Woo-sik, executive vice president for investor relations, told analysts on a conference call.

Chu cited 33 percent growth in handset sales year-over-year. Emerging markets, including China and India "continued to be the main driver of growth," he said.

Samsung's mainstay semiconductor business suffered due to weak pricing due to supply increases and slow seasonality, Chu said. Slow seasonal demand for personal computers hurt sales of dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, chips, he added.

Samsung is the world's largest manufacturer of computer memory chips and flat screen televisions and is the world's second-largest manufacturer of mobile phones behind Finland's Nokia Corp.

Samsung is the flagship of Samsung Group, the country's biggest industrial conglomerate.

On Tuesday, the group's long-serving chairman announced his resignation over a scandal that led to his indictment on tax evasion and other charges.


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