SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) on Tuesday estimated a 64 percent jump in fourth-quarter operating profit to a new record, but the guidance fell short of market expectations as the strong won and year-end bonuses dented profits.
The global memory chip leader and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) smartphone rival said its October-December profit was likely 15.1 trillion won ($14.1 billion), compared with a 15.9 trillion won average estimate from 17 analysts surveyed in a Thomson Reuters poll.
Based on the guidance, Samsung’s 2017 operating profit is likely 53.6 trillion won, compared to the previous year’s 29.2 trillion won, putting the South Korean tech giant on course for a record annual profit as strong DRAM memory chip prices continued to fatten margins.
Revenue was estimated to have increased 24 percent to 66 trillion won, versus the analysts’ average forecast of 66.8 trillion won.
Samsung did not elaborate on its October-December performance and will disclose detailed results at the end of January.
The continued rise in the price of DRAM chips, in especially hot demand for data center servers, more than made up for a drop in NAND chip prices and a stronger won, analysts said.
But the outlook for semiconductors in 2018 is mixed, and Samsung shares have fallen 9.6 percent from their all-time high in early November as some investors bet on an end to the memory chip boom.
NAND flash memory chips, used in things like digital cameras and USB drives, have entered a down-cycle and some analysts say DRAM market conditions also will soften later this year.
The outlook for smartphones and other mobile devices, which analysts expect to