Samsung's bumper profits, new phone, chief on trial

That would be its best quarterly profit in nearly four years and shows a recovery from the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.

Revenue for the quarter rose 0.4 per cent to 50 trillion won, compared with analysts' forecast of 49.4 trillion won.

In recent weeks, the Korean tech giant unveiled its new flagship smartphone: the Samsung Galaxy S8. That could help it stage a comeback in the wake of a string of controversies.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 smartphone was plagued with problems which caused the device to overheat and in some cases catch fire.

The independent counsel who twice sought to arrest Lee during his 90-day investigation into the corruption scandal that led to impeachment of Park Geun-hye also appeared in court on Friday.

Lee Jae-yong, the third-generation scion of the family that runs the conglomerate and the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, was escorted into the Seoul courtroom by the police with his hands and arms bound.

The photos shown here are of a Galaxy Note 7 that turned up in Vietnam, although it's not clear if the device was sold legitimately.

Memory chips and flexible displays accounted for about 68 percent of Samsung's operating profit in the final quarter of 2016. Above all, a number of Galaxy Note 8 specs rumors are turning up that give a glimpse of what the new phone might pack under the hood. Samsung was forced to recall it late past year after reports of the device overheating and exploding.

Lee's arrest, the first for a Samsung chief even though his father was twice convicted of bribery, sent shockwaves through the company and triggered the announcement of a major reform of its top-down management style.

Samsung will deliver the official results later this month.

"The semiconductor business was likely the main driver for earnings", said Heungkuk Securities analyst Lee Min Hee, adding that sales of mid- to low-tier smartphones also helped the mobile business to stay profitable. The company releasing earnings guidance in a disclosure statement said sales are estimated to have grown 9.7 percent to 14.7 trillion won. The prosecutor accuses him of conspiring to transfer millions to entities controlled by the president's confidante, Choi Soon-sil.

A verdict for Lee is expected by the end of May under a special prosecution law that calls for fast-tracking the case.

  • Arturo Norris