Samsung Q3 sales, profits show strong growth

Samsung has reported net income during the June to September period was US$2.3 billion, 46 per cent up on the 1.84 trillion won recorded in the same period a year earlier.

During the period, which is Samsung Electronics' fiscal third quarter, the company said sales were $US12.52 billion also up on last year's figures.

"The business environment was very challenging during the third quarter," senior vice-president of the company's investor relations team, said Chu Woosik, said. "We had the macroeconomic slowdown, also in some segments of the IT industry we've seen oversupply in products such as thin-film transistor [TFT] liquid crystal display [LCD] and also rising oil prices to contend with on top of that. We are also currently experiencing a long period of sluggishness in the domestic [South Korean] economy."

"Despite that, we would like to think we did a good job of coming out with strong results," Chu said. "Regarding our outlook for the fourth quarter, we look forward to another quarter of robust performance."

The latest results push the company's total year-to-date sales to $US38.17 billion, which means it has already beaten the $38.09 billion total sales recorded for the whole of 2003.

Sales at the company's semiconductor business were up about 40 per cent on the year as dynamic RAM (DRAM) memory prices stabilised and demand for NAND flash memory chips recovered after price cuts earlier this year, vice-president of Samsung's semiconductor business, Kim Il Ung, said.

"The main drivers behind the growth were an expansion of sales of high-value products," said Kim.

The company estimates total PC shipments increased 11 per cent in the third quarter against the second quarter and said the average amount of DRAM in each machine also rose, up about 6 per cent to 482MB per computer. In the fourth quarter, Samsung expects PC shipments to increase 14 per cent over the third quarter, Kim said.

Sales of LCD panels were up 38 per cent on the same period a year earlier but down 23 per cent on the second quarter.

The company blamed a drop in the price of large size panels for LCD panels for the quarter-on-quarter fall and said it expected a recovery in demand in the fourth quarter.

In the company's telecommunications business, demand from consumers for the company's mid- and high-end handsets including the SGH-E800 model in Europe, helped boost overseas sales to offset the poor domestic market.

"Samsung's mobile sales are 22.7 million units (during the third quarter), about par with the previous quarter but 52 percent higher from last year's 15 million units," vice-president of Samsung's telecommunications business, Chung Hyun Suk, said . Total sales were $US4.2 billion, up 29 per cent on the year.

At 65.5 million units shipped in the first nine months of this year, Samsung's handset shipments have already surpassed the 55.6 million units that it shipped during all of last year. For the full year, the company expected shipments to exceed 86 million units, Chung said.

During the fourth quarter, the company's main new model would be the SGH-D500, which was a megapixel-class slider-style handset and will be targeted at the business market, he said.

It will also launch two new Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) models for Vodafone, the SGH-E630 slider phone, the SGH-P730 megapixel phone and several other handsets to make about 10 new models during the quarter. Marketing of most would begin in late November, Chung said.

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