Samsung Electronics operating profit up 50 percent

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Samsung Electronics operating profit up 50 percent

Samsung Electronics has announced its fourth-quarter operating profit jumped 50 percent to its highest in over three years, as record earnings in its chips business masked the negative impact of its failed Note 7 phones.

Samsung also said it plans to buy back 9.3 trillion won worth of shares this year.

The South Korean electronics manufacturer is counting on the booming chip market to continue driving growth as it works to recover from its biggest product recall crisis involving fire-prone Note 7 smartphones.

Samsung expected earnings to decline in the current quarter from the preceding quarter because of "increased marketing expenses in the mobile business and a sales decrease of TVs due to weak seasonal demand".

The world's biggest maker of smartphones and memory chips said October-December operating profit was 9.22 trillion won (A$10.5 billion), compared with prior guidance of 9.2 trillion won.

Revenue remained flat at 53.3 trillion won (A$60.3 billion) from the same period a year earlier, versus its estimate of 53 trillion won.

The chips division was the quarter's cash cow, with operating profit jumping 77 percent to 4.95 trillion won from a year earlier.

In its mobile business, operating profit rose 12 percent to 2.5 trillion won as models such as the Galaxy S filled the void following the discontinuation of the fire-prone Note 7 in October.

Samsung said on Monday that defective batteries caused Note 7 handsets to overheat and catch fire, and indicated that it may delay the launch of its next premium Galaxy S smartphone.

But its shares have been resilient, hitting a series of record-highs this month despite the Note 7 fiasco and an ongoing investigation into Samsung executives over their alleged involvement in a political scandal.

Prosecutors have said they will pursue their bribery case against Samsung Group scion Jay. Y Lee even if they are not granted permission to arrest him.


(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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