SEOUL Samsung Electronics, the world's top technology firm by revenue, estimated operating profit nearly doubled in January-March from a year ago, boosted by sales of its flagship Galaxy smartphones and its Note mini-tablet and phone.
Samsung, which will release its full quarterly results on April 27, estimated its January-March operating profit at a record 5.8 trillion won ($5.15 billion) versus a consensus forecast of 5.0 trillion won from analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. It estimated sales at 45 trillion won.
Following are reactions from analysts and fund managers:
KIM SUNG IN, CHIP ANALYST, KIWOOM SECURITIES
"Although we did see a possibility of reaching these numbers they're the highest ever seen and still a big surprise."
"Sixty to 70 percent of profit came from handset sales this quarter but with memory chip prices rising, chips will play a big part in second quarter profits. Expectations for operating profit will reach somewhere between 6.5 trillion to 7.5 trillion won. For sales, we expect 48.4 to 49 trillion won in the second quarter."
"As seen with the continual growth of Samsung during the third and fourth quarter last year, the company's growth has no correlation with the global market right now. The only risk to not hitting the expected numbers is the exchange rate, say if the won strengthens to under 1,050 per dollar."
AH SEONG-HO, ANALYST, HANWHA SECURITIES
"Samsung's profit is not that surprising given that we already expected a big increase. However its shares will definitely respond positively today."
"I expect profit to rise further in the second quarter. Marketing costs for the Olympics will not impact profit much as the memory chip industry is on a recovery track."
"Given that Samsung has come out strong even when the global economy is not fully back on track, it will do just fine in the coming months. The eurozone debt crisis could affect its performance but is not considered a major risk."
LEE SUN-TAE, ANALYST, NH INVESTMENT & SECURITIES
"The memory chip industry starting to recover from the second quarter will also contribute to profits."
"I don't think profits in Samsung's handset business are set for a fall. Marketing costs may rise because of events such as the Olympics but won't hurt profit significantly."
"Macroeconomic conditions will of course be critical for Samsung, but how it can be more innovative will be another important point."
LEE KA-KEUN, ANALYST, HANA DAETOO SECURITIES
"The guidance is a surprise. Higher-than-expected shipments of the Galaxy Note seem to have given an upside to earnings. Sales of the Galaxy Note will increase further in the second quarter, and handset profit will grow despite a rise in marketing costs related to the London Olympics."
"Chip profit will increase as well in the second quarter, with chip prices rising. I expect total profit to peak in the third quarter on high seasonal demand."
"Samsung and Apple are expected to launch the new Galaxy S and iPhone in the second quarter, respectively, and they will engage in full-fledged war."
CHOI DO-YEON, ANALYST, LIG INVESTMENT & SECURITIES
"There was a big surprise in profit, while revenue was in line, which suggests a stronger than expected profit margin from the handset division thanks to robust sales of high-end models like the Galaxy S and Note."
"Handset margins are estimated to have topped 20 percent and profits from the division also topped 4 trillion won. This is really a blowout result and there could be more surprises in the coming quarters as other businesses such as chips will show recovery."
"However handset margins could come under pressure in the second quarter due to increased marketing spend related to the summer Olympics and new product launches."
(Reporting by Miyoung Kim, Hyunjoo Jin, Jumin Park, Jin Kyu Kang and Iktae Park; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)