Samsung profits plummet, handset shipments steady

Samsung said its company-wide net profit slumped 72% in the first quarter amid slowing demand for memory chips and other electronic gizmos.

However, the firm's handset shipments remained relatively flat year-over-year, and its average selling prices for handsets rose slightly - by 2% - over the previous quarter.

Samsung's results echo similar dreary reports from fellow handset makers Nokia and Sony Ericsson. Nokia's first-quarter profit fell  96%, though investors were comforted by the fact that the world's largest handset-maker maintained its forecast that the overall handset market would fall by 10% this year.

As for Sony Ericsson, the firm recorded  a $386 million net loss for the quarter and announced it would cut a whopping 2,000 jobs.

Samsung makes a wide range of electronics - from flat-panel TVs to semiconductors to liquid crystal displays - and said the general economic climate remains challenging. However, the firm's head of investor relations, Robert Yi, said the “global economy is likely to continue to recover in the second quarter” but warned of lingering uncertainty, according to an Associated Press report.

Samsung's investor relations presentation (which did not include handset shipment numbers) indicated the firm outperformed the overall handset market and that its global market share rose above 18%.

The South Korea-based electronics conglomerate also said it would enhance its high-end handset lineup with touchscreen smartphones and would “strengthen joint promotion” with carriers in the United States.

For more:
- see this
- see this article
- see the company's investor presentation