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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
April 24, 2024

Market Now

Samsung warns of worse than expected earnings in Q4

  • PUBLISHED :January 10, 2024 - 09:46
  • UPDATED :January 10, 2024 - 09:46
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Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Seocho-gu, Seoul. (Yonhap)

Samsung Electronics is estimated to have recorded its lowest operating profit in 15 years in 2023, with its chip business only slightly recovering at the end of the year after hitting rock bottom in the wake of sluggish demand and high inventory.

In its earnings guidance released Tuesday, the tech giant projected its annual sales for the year at 258.1 trillion won ($196 billion), which is down by 14.5 percent on-year. Operating profit is estimated at 6.54 trillion won, plunging 84.9 percent when compared to 2022.

It is the first time that the tech juggernaut has posted an annual operating profit below the 10-trillion-won mark since 2008, when the global financial crisis hit. At that time, the company logged 6.03 trillion won in operating profit.

In the October-December period, the company is estimated to have achieved consolidated sales of 67 trillion won, edging down 0.59 percent on-year, and an operating profit of 2.8 trillion won, which is up by 15.23 percent.

The figures in the fourth quarter show improvements from previous quarters. In the January-March period, Samsung recorded an operating profit of 640 billion won, and then it increased to 670 billion won and 2.43 trillion won in the following quarters.

The quarterly record, however, came short of estimates from local securities firms compiled by market tracker FnGuide, which predicted 70.3 trillion won for sales and 3.7 trillion won for operating profit.

The year's poor earnings projection comes as the company's semiconductor business suffered from record losses.

The Device Solution division which oversees Samsung's chip business, once achieved an operating profit of about 10 trillion won in the second quarter of 2022.

But its operating profit turned to a deficit in the following year, with the operating loss amounting to 12.7 trillion won by the third quarter in 2023.

With the global chip industry showing signs of recovery, analysts forecast the tech giant's annual operating profit to grow to 30 trillion won in 2024.

DRAM memory chip sales appear to have made a profit in the latter half of the year, with demand for high-value chips supporting artificial intelligence technology, such as High Bandwidth Memory, and DDR5 and LPDDR5x on the rise.

"The earnings record is likely to recover following the turnaround in the memory chip market, and overall demand is expected to grow with the rise of AI and other IT technologies," DS Investment & Securities said.

The company's mobile device division contributed to the earnings. In the fourth quarter of 2023, Samsung's Mobile eXperience division is estimated to have achieved sales of about 27 to 30 trillion won, and an operating profit of about 2.5 trillion won.

The world's largest smartphone maker by shipment will unveil its new Galaxy S24 series featuring AI technology in its unpacked event in the US on Jan. 17.

Samsung is holding the unpacked event earlier than before, a move seen as a strategy to promote the products faster than the competitors. The company typically presented its new Galaxy S series around the end of January or in February.

This year, the company plans to produce about 35 million units of the Galaxy S24 series.

While the company did not release the earnings record for each of its business divisions, it is expected to release its official earnings record at the end of this month.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)

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