South Korean telecoms giant Samsung Electronics saw net profits leap by more than half in the first quarter, it said today, thanks to strong demand for memory chips and its latest high-end smartphone.
The firm, the world's biggest maker of memory chips and the flagship subsidiary of the sprawling Samsung group, has recovered from a series of setbacks to post record profits in recent quarters.
It faced an embarrassing global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 device over exploding batteries in 2016, and last year its vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong, scion of Samsung's founding family, was jailed for his part in the sprawling corruption scandal that brought down president Park Geun-hye. He has since been released after some of his convictions were quashed on appeal, and the firm's shareholders have seen its value soar.
Net profit for the January to March period rose 52 percent to hit 11.69 trillion won (USD 10.8 billion), up from 7.68 trillion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing. Operating profit was a record 15.64 trillion won, in line with the estimate of 15.6 trillion won suggested in a preliminary guidance report released earlier this month.
"The semiconductor business posted solid earnings -- 11.55 trillion won in operating profit on a 20.78 trillion won revenue -- on strong demand for memory chips," the company said in a statement. The semiconductor business' earnings performance was driven by demand for memory chip sets for high-value-added servers and graphics products.
The global launch of its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9, as well as strong demand for chips used for smartphones and crypto-currency mining also contributed to the rise in profitability.