SEOUL Samsung Electronics Co, the world's top technology firm by revenue, reported a 13 percent fall in quarterly profit, as the stellar performance of its handset business was overshadowed by a slump in its mainstay chip division.
Samsung, the world's second-biggest handset maker after Nokia, said its handset division saw operating profit more than double from a year earlier to a record high of 2.52 trillion won ($2.3 billion) in the third quarter, thanks to strong sales of its flagship Galaxy smartphones powered by Google's Android software.
Samsung's bread-and-butter chip business saw its profit more than halve to 1.59 trillion won from a year earlier, but it held up well as its relatively high exposure to lucrative mobile chips helped the firm offset a sharp plunge in prices of commodity computer memory chips.
Samsung was the sole profitable firm among major global DRAM chip makers in the third quarter, analysts said. Second-ranked computer memory chip maker Hynix Semiconductor and Japan's Elpida Memory swung to deep losses as prices of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips used in PCs tumbled about 50 percent in the third quarter.
Samsung's display business posted losses for a third consecutive quarter, as weak demand for TVs and PCs failed to offset strong sales of smartphones.
The world's top maker of memory chips and No.2 maker of mobile phones reported a 4.25 trillion won operating profit for the July-September quarter, in line with its earlier estimate of 4.2 trillion won.
That was down from 4.9 trillion won a year ago but up from 3.8 trillion won the preceding quarter.
Samsung trails Nokia in mobile phones, competes with Sony Corp and LG Electronics Inc in TVs, and Toshiba, Hynix in chips and LG Display in displays.
Its shares were up 0.76 percent as of 0013 GMT, trailing the broader market's 1.79 percent rise.
Shares in Samsung, also the world's top TV maker, have dropped 3 percent so far this year, outperforming a 6 percent fall in the KOSPI.
($1 = 1115.250 Korean Won)
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Jonathan Hopfner)