Samsung reports record profit thanks to strong smartphone sales

Samsung’s soaring smartphone business has resulted in the company reporting a record quarterly profit for the three months ending March 31.

The world’s biggest electronics maker reported on Friday revenues of 45.27 trillion Korean won (almost $40 billion), generating a record net profit of 5.05 trillion won (about $4.4 billion) — nearly double the figure for the same time last year.

Its handset division alone performed staggeringly well compared to a year ago, with profits trebling to 4.27 trillion won (about $3.7 billion). This success was partly down to what the company called “brisk” sales of its Galaxy S II and Note devices. According to Reuters, the Korean tech giant is estimated to have sold around 90 million handsets in the quarter, including 44 million smartphones.

A WSJ report pointed out that the strong sales of its handsets hid the fact that the company is facing difficulties with its chip unit, with sales falling and profit cut almost in half.

There was promising news for its display panel division, however, which made a profit for the first time in two years. The LCD panels are used in the manufacture of handsets, computers and TVs.

“Despite difficult business environments including seasonal low demand for major products such as PCs and TVs amid a global economic slowdown, we achieved record quarterly results based on our differentiated products and technology leadership,” Robert Yi, the company’s senior vice president and head of investor relations, said in a statement.

He added, “We cautiously expect our earnings momentum to continue going forward, as competitiveness in our major businesses is enhanced.”

The firm’s record-breaking financial news comes just days before it unveils its highly-anticipated Galaxy S III handset, a device the electronics maker is confident will be a huge hit with consumers as it battles with Apple and its iPhone over control of the high-end smartphone market — a market that last year the two companies dominated with a combined 90 percent share.

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