Samsung 3Q profit triples to record as sales jump

SEOUL: Samsung Electronics Co. said third-quarter net profit tripled to a record amid increased sales of flat screen TVs and mobile phones and higher prices for computer memory chips.

The world's top producer of computer memory chips, flat screen televisions and liquid crystal displays earned 3.72 trillion won ($3.14 billion) in the three months ended Sept. 30, it said Friday. Samsung posted net profit of 1.22 trillion won a year earlier.

The quarterly net profit was an all-time high for the company, said spokesman Reuben Staines. The previous record was 3.14 trillion won in the first quarter of 2004.

Sales at the Suwon, South Korea-based company rose 29 percent to 24.86 trillion won during the quarter from 19.3 trillion won a year earlier. That was also a record, Staines said.

Samsung shares rose 2.1 percent to 733,000 won in late morning trading. The company released earnings results about 30 minutes after the stock market opened. The stock price has risen about 62 percent this year.

The company said in a statement it benefited from higher prices for computer memory chips as well as increased demand. Sales of flat screen TVs increased 22 percent from the previous three months.

It also sold 60.2 million mobile phone handsets in the third quarter, up 15 percent from the second quarter. Samsung ranks No. 2 in mobile phones behind Finland's Nokia Corp.

The company has now recorded three straight quarters of net profit after suffering its first loss during the final three months of last year as the global economic slump hit prices and demand for mainstay products.

Looking ahead, Samsung forecast a "solid fourth quarter supported by seasonal demand for consumer electronics." Samsung said the "outlook is positive for further growth as the global economic recovery continues into 2010."

The record result comes amid strong third-quarter earnings from other major South Korean companies. Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp. both announced record net profit.

Samsung rival Hynix Semiconductor Inc. also recorded its first net profit in two years as prices for memory chips increased. LG Display Co., which competes with Samsung in liquid crystal displays, announced record quarterly sales and a 90 percent surge in net profit.

South Korea's economy is quickly rebounding from the depths of the global slump. Asia's fourth-largest economy accelerated to growth of 2.9 percent in the third quarter, its best performance in more than seven years.