Samsung's Q4 profit carried by strong smartphone sales

Samsung reported a 13 percent rise in net profit for the fourth quarter, helped by robust smartphone shipments.

Click here for key metrics from Samsung’s fourth quarter.On a company-wide basis, Samsung posted a net profit of $3.06 billion in the quarter, up from $2.73 billion in the year-ago period. However, the company's LCD and memory chip businesses reported weaker profits than in the fourth quarter of 2009. Total sales clocked in at $37.66 billion.

Samsung said its telecommunications business--which includes both handsets and wireless network equipment--reported an operating profit of $1.29 billion, up 38 percent from $944 million in the year-ago quarter. Samsung's handset sales rose 20 percent to $10 billion in the quarter.

Samsung made a dent in the smartphone market in 2010 with its Galaxy S line powered by Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, introduced in the U.S. market in June. Samsung scored 10 million Galaxy S handset sales in 2010 and, according to Yonhap News, has shipped 2 million of its GalaxyTab tablets since the product went on sale three months ago. For the quarter, the world's No. 2 handset maker by volume shipped a total of 80.7 million units, up 17 percent from the year-ago period and 13 percent from the third quarter of 2010. Samsung commanded 20.1 percent of the global handset market in the fourth quarter, according to research firm IDC.

Samsung shipped 280 million handset units total in 2010.

Looking ahead to 2011, Samsung said the global handset market likely will grow by a high single-digit percentage for the year. The company expects the market to have a weak first quarter due to seasonality, but that smartphone and tablet sales will continue to grow. As for its own outlook, Samsung said it expects to outpace the market and that its smartphone sales will double year over year. The company will try to diversify its smartphone lineup via its Super AMOLED Plus display, dual-core application processors and more mass-market smartphones. Samsung continues to target market share growth and a double-digit operating margin.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this FT article (sub. req.)
- see this Yonhap News article
- see this FierceWireless Q4 earnings page

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