Samsung tips best quarterly profit in over three years as chips soar

South Korean-based Samsung issued its earnings guidance for Q1 2017 and stated its operating profit is expected to come in around $8.8 billion Dollars (9.9 trillion won), up approximately 48 percent over the same period previous year, with sales topping 50 trillion won for the months January to March.

The global memory chip leader said its first-quarter operating profit was likely 9.9 trillion won (US$8.8 billion), compared with an average forecast of 9.4 trillion won from a Thomson Reuters survey of 18 analysts.

Samsung's sales over the cited period edged up 0.44 percent to 50 trillion won, the data also showed.

The operating profits of major semiconductor companies in South Korea are expected to have increased nearly 60 percent in the January-March period.

It would mark the second-highest quarterly operating profit ever posted by Samsung.

Securities firm FnGuide released the forecast for an on-year increase Thursday, which would take profits to 11.7 trillion won ($10.3 billion). Vice-chairman Jay Y. Lee is on trial for bribery and other charges linked to a corruption scandal that led to the ouster and arrest of then-South Korean president Park Geun-hye. Still, the company has said it's got a strong management team in place to run the business.

Samsung is reporting its best first quarter earnings since 2013, with the main source of revenue coming from memory chips and OLED display sales.

The first quarter earnings guidance came as the world's largest smartphone manufacturer started preorders of its latest premium smartphone, the Galaxy S8, which is enjoying very healthy demand.

The company is set to release the finalized earnings report later this month.

Demand for Samsung's essential components has remained robust during the explosion of internet-connected devices, which need memory chips to operate or store content, and a growing consumer preference for sleeker smartphones.

Samsung did not announce the performance of each business division. The strong showing underscores the strength of a business that's yet to recover from the Galaxy Note 7 debacle and the arrest of its vice chairman, Lee Jae-yong.

Samsung shares touched a record high of 2.134 million won in late March on expectations of record annual profit in 2017, as the South Korean tech giant bounced back from the embarrassing withdrawal of its Note 7 devices due to combustible batteries.

  • Arturo Norris