Samsung reports windfall profits in third quarter but warns of coming crisis

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The South Korean conglomerate said its operating profit rose nearly 60 percent to 12.35 trillion won ($ 10.9 billion) for the July-September quarter from the same period of the year last. Analysts polled by data provider Refinitiv had predicted 11.1 trillion won ($ 9.8 billion) in operating profit.

Samsung said third-quarter sales rose about 6 percent to 67 trillion won ($ 59 billion). Analysts polled by Refinitiv had predicted 64.7 trillion won in sales ($ 57 billion).

But looking forward, the company said it expects fourth quarter earnings to decline, due to weakening customer demand for servers for memory chips. He added that he also expects smartphone sales to decline and marketing costs to rise due to the competitive market environment. Rival smartphone maker Apple (AAPL) This month launched its highly anticipated iPhone 12, its first 5G-enabled device.

Samsung shares last recorded a 2.2% drop in Seoul, outpacing declines in South Korea. Kospi (KOSPI).

The earnings report comes shortly after the death of Lee Kun-hee – the business titan who drove Samsung from a modest South Korean company to a multinational conglomerate. Lee died Sunday at the age of 78.

Lee’s son, Lee Jae-yong, has been the de facto leader of the company since his father’s heart attack in 2014. Asked earlier this week whether the vice president would take the title of chairman of his father, Samsung declined to comment.

“While we assume that JY Lee… will assume the role of chairman, we do not expect a significant change in Samsung’s group ownership structure, management and business operations in the near term given the uncertainties of [an] pending litigation issue and potential new regulation of [South Korean] government, ”analysts at brokerage firm Daiwa wrote in a note on Tuesday.

The younger Lee was convicted of bribes and other corruption charges in 2017 and spent less than a year behind bars before an appeals court dismisses some of the charges and suspends his sentence . Last month, the vice president was indicted over a controversial 2015 merger that helped him tighten control of the company.

Despite the legal issues, analysts at Daiwa said they “expect JY Lee and senior management to actively seek [merger and acquisition] opportunities to secure the company’s long-term profit growth momentum and enhance the value of the company beyond the era of President Lee.

Samsung is one of the world’s leading chip manufacturing companies. But the semiconductor industry quickly consolidated, driven by the high spending on research and development and investment needed to stay at the forefront of chip manufacturing.

Samsung’s rival SK Hynix announced this month that it has purchased part of Intel’s memory chip for $ 9 billion. And AMD agreed on Tuesday to buy rival chipmaker Xilinx in a $ 35 billion deal.

– Jake Kwon and Yoonjung Seo contributed to this report.

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