Samsung predicts earnings improvement after sluggish 2019

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) — Samsung Electronics Co said yesterday its operating profit for the last quarter fell 33.7 per cent from a year earlier but it predicted earnings will improve in 2020, driven by a gradually stabilising computer chip market and increasing 5G smartphone sales.

The South Korean tech giant reported an operating profit of KRW7.16 trillion (USD6 billion) for the October-December quarter. The company’s revenue for the quarter rose one per cent from a year earlier at KRW59.9 trillion (USD50.6 billion).

Samsung, the world’s biggest producer of smartphones and semiconductors, has suffered a sharp drop in profit over the past year with an industry-wide glut forcing chip-makers to slash prices to clear out inventory. The company’s operating profit for the full-year 2019 was measured at KRW27.8 trillion (USD23.4 billion), representing a 53 per cent drop from 2018.

Samsung said in a statement that the global market for memory chips is showing signs of gradual improvement thanks to increased demands from data centres and sales of 5G smartphones.

“Looking ahead to 2020, Samsung expects improvements in overall business performance but also sees continued uncertainties in the global business environment,” the company said, without specifically addressing what those challenges are.

A logo of Samsung Group is seen at its shop in Seoul, South Korea yesterday. PHOTO: AP