Strong sales of smartphones have helped Korean tech giant Samsung boost its fourth-quarter profits.

The electronics specialist sold an estimated 63 million smartphones in the three-month period ending December 2012, helping company profits rocket by 76 per cent, compared to a year earlier.

 

Net profit for the final quarter of 2012 totalled 7.04 trillion South Korean won ($6.6 billion), up from 4.01 trillion a year earlier.

Samsung Profits Surge, But Dip Expected

Sales for the final quarter of 2012 rose 19 per cent over the previous year and operating income jumped 89 per cent.

Samsung, which pipped Apple to the post by becoming the top smartphone maker last year, said increased sales of its phones were the key source of its profit growth.

Galaxy smartphone outsold iPhone

In a statement the Seoul-based company said it led gains with its full line-up of entry to mid-level smartphones, expanded sales of tablet PCs, and increased its average selling price from the previous quarter.

Over the three-month period the growth was mainly driven by solid sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II – which outsold iPhones for a fourth straight quarter.

“The success was mainly brought on by strong sales of Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II, which beat the popularity of their predecessors with record sales in record time,” a Samsung spokesman said.

Operating profit from the division that makes and sells smartphones and tablets, more than doubled to 5.44 trillion won in the fourth quarter, from 2.56 trillion won the year before.

Global economic jitters

Despite the boost in profits, bosses at Samsung believe 2013 earnings will now decline due to the seasonally low demand for consumer electronics after Christmas, weakening global economic recovery and looming market uncertainties.

It is thought these factors will affect the company’s plans for investment and performance this year and in relation to this year’s capital expenditure, the size of investment is expected to be similar to that of 2012’s.

A Samsung spokesman added: “The furious growth spurt seen in the global smartphone market last year is expected to be pacified by intensifying price competition compounded by a slew of new products.

“In the first quarter, demand for smartphones in developed countries is expected to decelerate, while their emerging counterparts will see their markets escalate with the introduction of more affordable smartphones and a bigger appetite for tablet PCs throughout the year.”

Samsung’s line-up of LED TVs, including premium models targeting advanced markets and TVs tailored to emerging markets, also improved quarter-on-quarter earnings and the company saw increased sales of high-end refrigerators and washers in the US and in European markets.

 

[Image via thetimes]