Samsung Electronics, the world's top maker of televisions and mobile telephones, has reported a record profit surpassing analysts' estimates as it widened the lead over Apple in smartphone sales, thanks to its Galaxy devices.
Operating profit jumped 91 per cent to 8.1 trillion won (HK$56.7 billion) in the three months to September, the company said yesterday. The average of 32 analysts' estimates was 7.58 trillion won.
Earnings at the mobile-phone business surged 93 per cent in the quarter with the May debut of the Galaxy SIII and the Note, according to a survey of six analysts, helping mask a slump in profit from selling computer memory chips.
Television sales also helped Asia's biggest consumer electronics company, which lost a California patent trial in August to rival and key customer Apple.
"Smartphone sales were very solid," said Kim Young-chan, an analyst at Shinhan Investment. Smartphone shipments have increased significantly, easing concerns about marketing spending eating into profit."
The won strengthened to an 11-month high yesterday, a move that typically dampens the overseas earnings of companies when repatriated into local currency. Samsung got nearly 85 per cent of its revenue outside the country last year.
Samsung said third-quarter sales totalled 52 trillion won, compared with an estimate for 51.6 trillion won.
Operating profit might be 200 billion won higher or lower than the preliminary estimate when audited results were announced later this month, it said. The company did not provide net income figures or a breakdown of divisional earnings.
Third-quarter operating profit at the telecommunications unit, Samsung's biggest business, almost doubled to 4.87 trillion won after sales increased 80 per cent, according to the survey of analysts.
Samsung probably shipped 57.1 million smartphones in the third quarter, according to Daishin Securities' estimates.
That would surpass the 50.5 million units Samsung shipped in the previous quarter, a record amount for a single vendor, according to estimates from industry researcher Strategy.
Sales of the Galaxy SIII topped 20 million in the 100 days after its May debut, Samsung said. The company also is marketing the Galaxy Note II phone, equipped with a pen and a larger screen than the SIII.
Apple, lagging behind only Samsung in the smartphone market, last month started selling the iPhone 5 with a bigger screen, lightweight body design and a faster processor.
Samsung and Apple are also battling in court over patents protecting their devices, with each accusing the other of copying their intellectual property.