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Samsung Posts Q4 Loss; Nokia’s Profits Fall

New York — Samsung and Nokia continued the parade of top consumer electronics makers reporting disappointing fourth-quarter results due to the economic slowdown.

Samsung reported its first quarterly loss and Nokia said its fourth-quarter operating profit dropped 53 percent.

These woes follow reports in the past week or so from Sony, Microsoft, LG Electronics, Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Tom Tom and Logitech which all reported disappointing fourth-quarter results or projected annual results, layoffs, cost-cutting or some combination of all four.

Samsung’s fourth-quarter loss was near $15 million (depending upon exchange rates with the Korean won) for the three months ending Dec. 31. During last year’s fourth quarter net income was $1.9 billion.

Sales for the quarter were close to $14 billion compared with $18.7 billion in the previous year’s fourth quarter.

Annual net income was $4.25 billion, down 12 percent from the previous year, and annual sales for Samsung were up 15 percent, to $56.1 billion.

In dollars LCD division sales for the quarter were $3.2 billion down from the previous year’s $4.76 billion. Telecom division sales were $5.9 billion, slightly higher than last year’s $5.41 billion and digital media division sales were $1.8 billion around the same as last year’s $1.75 billion.

Samsung reported that LCD panel shipments declined due to slower demand and set makers’ inventory adjustments. Samsung said it expects slow market growth due to the world economy but sees improvement with seasonal demand for LCD in the second half. TV demand should “grow continuously due to digital broadcasting and set price decline.”

In telecommunications, handset shipments increased but sales were slower than forecast and prices suffered due to increased competition. Samsung is expected the handset market to contract in 2009 by 5 to 10 percent vs. 2008, but it expects to ship more than 200 million units and increase market share.

In its own TV sales in its digital media unit, Samsung reported fourth quarter shipments up by 20 percent vs. the third quarter. For 2009 Samsung expects flat panel shipments for the industry to be up by 10 percent due to digital broadcasting growth, lower pricing and low flat panel TV household penetration.

Earlier in the week Samsung announced

management changes and the reorganization

of its operations.