Samsung suffers first quarterly loss

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker, reported its first quarterly loss today. Demand has slumped in all its key markets - chips, flat screens and mobiles.

The Financial Times reports that the South Korean company is expected to generate more losses in the first quarter.

The company posted a Won22.2 billion ($16.16 million/€12.49)) net loss in the October-December period, compared with a Won2,210bn profit a year ago. Sales rose from Won14,480bn to Won18,450bn.

The company says it will expand its market leadership in core businesses by developing technology and offering differentiated products.

Taiwanese chipmakers have been obliged to seek a state bail-out while second-ranked Hynix Semiconductor received financial support from creditors. Nanya Technology, Taiwan's second-largest memory chipmaker, reported its seventh straight quarterly loss and Intel is likely to report a loss in this quarter, having seen profits fall by 90% in the last.

The display business is in decline, with rival LG Display posting a loss.

The company's handset division reported an operating profit of Won160bn. The company plans to strengthen its portfolio by offering more lower-end models. Industry leader Nokia has forecast a 10% drop in industry sales this year.