Samsung's Q1 2012 profits nearly double year-over-year on higher margins for TVs and phones

The numbers for Samsung's first quarter of 2012 are in and as it expected they are up sharply over the same period from 2011. After predicting profits of 5.8 trillion won it managed to top that, notching an operating profit of 5.85 trillion won ($5.16 billion US) for the quarter, a 98 percent gain over a year ago. Phones accounted for 73 percent of the profit, contributing 4.27 trillion won to the bottom line. As the world awaits the debut of what we assume will be the Samsung Galaxy S III May 3rd powered by its Exynos 4 Quad CPU, there's clearly no shortage of demand for the Galaxy S II and Note. Sales of chips and TVs decreased from last quarter, but like its competitor LG, growing sales of high res tablet panels (we wonder which one that might be), 3DTVs and OLEDs increased profitability. Specifically, the high end 7000/8000 series of HDTVs increased sales by 50 percent from last year, while the company plans to focus on "region-specific" LED models for emerging markets, and high end (and high priced) flat-panels for developed markets.

We're listening in to the earnings call at the moment, and we'll let you know if there's any other details that come out of what is mostly boring numbers talk. So far it's all pretty businessy, although in response to a question executives did confirm that they expect the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note to occupy different segments in terms of size. So there you have it -- the Galaxy S III will (shockingly) not have a 5.3-inch screen. Also, it predictably is trying to continue the trend of global launches, although that hardly puts to rest the issue of how long we may end up waiting for carrier-specific versions here in the US. Check out the rest of Samsung's details in a press release and a few slides from the report embedded after the break.


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Samsung Electronics Announces First Quarter 2012 Earnings Results
(SEOUL--Korea Newswire) April 27, 2012 -- Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced revenues of 45.27 trillion Korean won on a consolidated basis for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012, a 22-percent increase year-on-year.

For the quarter, the company's consolidated operating profit reached an all-time high of 5.85 trillion won representing a 98-percent increase year-on-year. Consolidated net profit for the January-March period was 5.05 trillion won.

Despite a decrease in sales of semiconductor chips and TVs due to seasonal factors, an increase in profitability in display panels and mobile phones pushed up quarterly operating profit margins by 1.7 percentage points to 12.9 percent.

In its earnings guidance disclosed on April 6, Samsung estimated first-quarter consolidated revenues would reach approximately 45 trillion won with consolidated operating profit of approximately 5.8 trillion won.

Samsung's strong performance in the quarter was driven mainly by the IT & Mobile Communications (IM) segment, which is comprised of four businesses, Mobile Communications, Telecommunication Systems, IT Solutions and Digital Imaging. In particular, solid growth in the Mobile Communications business, with brisk sales of flagship GALAXY Note and GALAXY S II devices contributed to the company's profitability.

The consolidated operating profit for IT & Mobile Communications businesses reached 4.27 trillion won on revenue of 23.22 trillion won. The Display Panel business rebounded in the first quarter with operating gains of 280 billion won, following an uptick in demand for high-margin panels used in tablets, 3D/ LED TVs and premium OLED panels.

"Despite difficult business environments including seasonal low demand for major products such as PCs and TVs amid a global economic slowdown, we achieved record quarterly results based on our differentiated products and technology leadership. We cautiously expect our earnings momentum to continue going forward, as competitiveness in our major businesses is enhanced," said Robert Yi, Senior Vice President and Head of Investor Relations.

Looking into the second quarter, Samsung expects to improve profitability in the chip business with a recovery in PC DRAM price and by expanding its new product category with mobile application processors based on 32 nanometer-class process technology. Samsung plans to also bolster its competitive edge in mobile phones with the debut of new high-end smartphones, and by reinforcing the full lineup of products and its presence in emerging markets.

Capex 7.8 Trillion Won in Q1

Capital expenditure in the first quarter was 7.8 trillion won, with 5.8 trillion won invested in the Semiconductor Business and 1.3 trillion won in the Display Panel segment.

Earlier this year, Samsung announced plans to spend a total of 25 trillion won in capex for 2012.

Fifteen trillion won will be invested in the Semiconductor Business that consists of Memory and System LSI. For the Display Panel segment, 6.6 trillion won has been allocated for investment.

Organizational Change

Starting from the first quarter, the business segment financial disclosure will reflect the organizational changes, which took place in December, 2011. We will provide sales and earnings of Device Solutions, including Semiconductor and Display Panel businesses; and Digital Media & Communications, including IT & Mobile Communications and Consumer Electronics (CE) divisions.

IT & Mobile Communications includes Mobile Communications, Telecommunication Systems, IT Solutions and Digital Imaging; and CE includes Visual Display and Digital Appliances.

Seasonal Factors Dampen Chip Demand

Samsung's Semiconductor Business – including Memory and System LSI – posted an operating profit of 760 billion won in the first quarter. Revenue retreated to 7.98 trillion won on-year, a 13-percent decrease compared with the same period last year.

Weaker-than-expected off-peak season demand and a global supply crunch of HDDs coupled with low demand for PC DRAM chips and the oversupply of mobile DRAM impacted profit margins, in which the memory portion saw its revenue slip to 4.89 trillion won. For NAND, spot price remained weak due to sluggish demand compounded by early stage products from geometry migration flowing into the channel market.

Despite adverse market conditions, Samsung's chip business was buoyed by strong demand for server DRAM and by expanding our value-added product mix such as products based on the 30-nanometer-class and 20-nanometer-class process technologies.Increased orders for Solid State Drives (SSDs) and Embedded Multimedia Cards (eMMC) also helped the chip business to cushion the market squeeze.

Looking ahead, the global HDD supply shortage is expected to be alleviated in the second quarter and demand for specialty DRAM products including mobile and server DRAMs will be strong. However, elevated competition among manufacturers of 30-nanometer-class chips will lead to a price decline.

In the second quarter, Samsung is poised to ramp up supply of high-capacity, power-efficient DRAM for servers based on our green memory solution. As for NAND, we will spur growth by expanding the 20-nanometer-class portion. Sales of CMOS image sensors will remain high in the April-June quarter, as demand for smartphones equipped with high-resolution cameras is expected to be strong.

Display Business Swings to Profit

Operating profit for the Display Panel Business turned around from the previous quarter to register 280 billion won on revenue of 8.54 trillion won in the first quarter.

Despite traditionally weak seasonality, continued economic stagnation in Europe, and the prolonged supply shortage in the PC industry, the Display Panel Business was able to improve profitability by expanding sales of high-end premium panels such as LED TV and 3D panels, which pushed TV panel sales up in the mid-20 percent range on-year. Increased sales of high-resolution panels for tablet PCs and OLED panels for smartphones also helped boost profit in the quarter.

Looking ahead, although the market for monitor panels will remain stagnant, demand for tablet and notebook panels is expected to increase on seasonal education-related demand while TV panels are expected to lift due to Chinese Labor Day sales and the London Olympics.

Moving forward with the establishment of Samsung Display Corporation, the company will continue to enhance profitability by expanding sales of premium panel products such 3D, large size and LED panels, while smartphone demand is expected to continue to fuel OLED panel sales.

Profits Propped Up by Strong Sales of Smart Devices

The IT & Mobile Communications division – including Mobile Communications, Telecommunication Systems, IT Solutions and Digital Imaging – registered quarterly operating profits of 4.27 trillion won for the first period. Revenue reached 23.22 trillion won, and the mobile unit accounted for 18.90 trillion won, up 86 percent year-on-year.

Growth in shipments of Samsung's flagship GALAXY Note and GALAXY S II and other premium mobile devices yielded high returns, with significant growth in China, Central and South America, the Middle East and Africa.

Samsung is expected to continue its strong growth momentum in the second quarter, following the announcement of the next GALAXY device in London on May 3.

The Telecommunication Systems business saw growth both in revenue and operating gains due to an increase in LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless broadband technology equipment. In the case of IT Solutions, a boost in sales of mid-to-high-end products, including PCs and printers improved quarter-on-quarter earnings.

We expect to further solidify our leading position in LTE business in the US market and make further inroads into countries newly adopting the service.

Premium TV Sales Lift Profitability

Samsung's Consumer Electronics businesses, which encompass Visual Display and Digital Appliances, registered an operating profit of 530 billion won in the quarter, up 550 percent year-on-year, on revenues of 10.67 trillion won.

Although weak seasonality led to a quarter-on-quarter dip in revenue, strong sales of premium TVs in developed markets and LED TVs in emerging markets saw shipments outstrip market growth and drive a sharp increase in profitability. Highlights for the quarter included an increase in sales of more than 50 percent for Samsung's flagship 7000/8000 TV series on-year, while the Digital Appliances Business improved profitability, both on-year and on-quarter, by increasing its portion of premium product sales.

In the second quarter, market growth for flat panel TVs in the mid-single digits is expected on rising demand in emerging markets and increased sales of LED TVs which are forecast to account for over 60 percent of the TV market in the quarter. In emerging markets, Samsung aims to expand its presence with region-specific LED TV models, while its range of Smart TV models with enhanced features will continue to maintain the company's leadership in developed markets.

As for digital appliances, demand is expected to rise led by growth in emerging markets. Samsung will aim to improve profitability in the quarter by enhancing R&D efficiencies, expanding sales of premium products and sales in emerging markets, and capitalizing on strong seasonal demand for air conditioners.
News Source: Samsung Electronics