Samsung sees profit jump on strong chip demand

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Samsung Electronics flagged a 23 per cent rise in second-quarter operating profit yesterday, beating analysts’ estimates on solid chip sales to data centres catering for a work-from-home economy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The sales offset weak demand for smartphones and TVs, while one-off gains from its display business, which counts Apple as a customer, also boosted profits, the company said. It gave no further details.

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The world’s top memory chip and smartphone maker said operating profit was likely N8.1-trillion won (US$6.8-billion) in the quarter ended June, far above the N6.4-trillion won analyst forecast by Refinitiv SmartEstimate. It would be the highest quarterly profit since the fourth quarter of 2018.

Revenue likely fell 7 per cent to 52-trillion won from a year earlier, Samsung added, giving only limited data in a regulatory filing ahead of its full earnings figures later this month.

Work-from-home orders and growth in online learning are underpinning chip demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic and pushing up DRAM memory chip prices.

US DRAM supplier Micron Technology forecasts strong quarterly revenue last month. “Chip demand was stronger than expected due to COVID-19,” said Park Sung-soon, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.

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