Strong smartphone sales raise hopes of Samsung turnaround

Samsung profit tumbles as memory chip business suffers from low demand

Samsung's ratio of operating profit to revenue was 12.4 percent in the third quarter, up from 11.8 percent tallied in the previous quarter. Although LG did not reveal the reasons for its earnings surprise, analysts say the tech company's home appliance and mobile communication units performed well during that period. The memory chip business contributes 2/3 of Samsung's profit.

Samsung Electronics estimated on October 8 that its operating profit will likely stand at 7.7 trillion won ($6.4billion) in the July-September period, down 56.2 percent on-year.

Analysts pointed out that Samsung hopes that the latest release of Note smartphones will boost its mobile phone sales this quarter.

Samsung Electronics posted earnings that handily beat analyst estimates as stronger smartphone demand offset price declines in the memory chip business.

Concerns over the impact on the production of chips and displays have eased among some market watchers as Japan approved shipments of key materials to Samsung.

Park Sung-soon, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities, said a wider industry slowdown had stemmed from "datacentre customers, a major driver for the memory chip business, pursuing conservative investment for the time being". The company will release more detailed quarterly earnings later this month.

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But since the end of past year, demand and prices for flash memory have taken a steep nosedive because of an oversupply that has dragged on Samsung's profitability.

In the third quarter, contract prices for 32GB DRAM server modules fell 13.8% compared to the previous quarter while those for 128GB MLC NAND flash memory chips rose 12.3%, according to inSpectrum Tech.

The company earlier announced that it has sold over 1 million Galaxy Note 10s in South Korea, making it the fastest Samsung smartphone to reach the milestone.

Analysts said the strategy may be paying off as the company on Tuesday flagged a smaller-than-expected fall in third quarter operating profit, saying at the same time that sales of the Note 10 both at home and in Europe had been strong since the August 23 launch.

Samsung also expect sales to decline in the quarter to £42.3 billion, down from £44.6 billion for the same period a year ago.

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