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Samsung’s Profit Down; CE, Cellphone OK

4/24/2009 01:33:00 PM Eastern

Seoul, South Korea — While Samsung Electronics reported a steep drop in net earnings due to lower sales in its memory-chip business in the first quarter, its CE and cellphone businesses performed well.

Samsung reported net income of $461.7 million, down 72 percent from last year’s first quarter. Sales were $13.8 billion, up 9 percent compared with last year.

In its digital media area, the company reported sales growth of 31 percent from the prior year’s first quarter. Operating profit was up in triple digits compared with the prior year.

Samsung’s flat-panel TV shipments rose 20 percent in the quarter vs. the same time last year, with LED TVs leading the way. The company expects increased LED and LCD TV sales in its line to grow in the second quarter.

Its LCD panel sales were down 14 percent compared with the prior year’s fourth quarter, and the company reported a $230 million loss in the quarter vs. the prior year’s $752.2 million profit.

LCD panel shipments were down to 85 million units, from 109 million units in the prior year’s first quarter, due to the downturn and "weak seasonality," Samsung said. It expects increased demand in the second quarter, but warns about pricing pressure if TV sales are weak for the industry.

For Samsung’s wireless business, sales were up 32 percent from the prior year’s fourth quarter, and profits were up 2 percent vs. the prior year.

In handsets, shipments were down 1 percent for the company due to the recession. Samsung said it expects a flat or marginal increase for the industry in the second quarter vs. last year.

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