Samsung Estimates Q1 Operating Profit at $5.14 bln


South Korea's Samsung Electronics Friday estimated first-quarter operating profit at 5.8 trillion won ($5.14 billion), a 97 percent rise from a year earlier.

The world's largest technology firm by revenue was releasing earnings guidance for January-March before its official results.

It estimated Q1 sales at about 45 trillion won, a 22 percent rise from the first quarter of 2011, but did not predict a net profit figure.

Samsung Electronics gave no reason for the strong figure, a record for a first quarter, but analysts credited strong smartphone sales. The company is the world's second biggest maker after Nokia of all types of mobile phone.

The Korean giant is also the world's biggest maker in revenue terms of flat panels, memory chips and flat-screen televisions.

Analysts said a turnaround in the flat-panel business and better profits in the TV and home appliance unit also probably helped offset a relatively weaker performance in memory chips.

The company looks set to report robust or even record earnings in the second quarter due to strong performances by its memory chip, non-memory chip and smartphone businesses, said Kiwoom Securities' analyst Kim Sung-In.

Kim said he expects Samsung's first-quarter smartphone shipments to have tripled year-on-year to around 44 million and to exceed 50 million in the second quarter.

Market researcher Strategy Analytics said Apple was the world's largest smartphone vendor with a 37 percent share in the fourth quarter of last year, narrowly beating Samsung's 36.5 percent.

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