Samsung Electronics Co. reported that its fourth quarter earnings beat gloomy forecasts, but net income fell 36 percent on softer smartphone sales. The manufacturer announced Wednesday that its net profit fell to $4.9 billion, or 5.3 trillion won during October to December, down from $6.6 billion, or 7.04 trillion won, from a year earlier.
Samsung raised its dividend as profits recovered somewhat from last quarter, when it earned 4.2 trillion won, and were higher than forecasts for 4.4 trillion won. Declining sales of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, including the flagship Galaxy S5 and Note 4 phablet, were offset by the Korean manufacturer’s chip business.
Analysts expect a small recovery for Samsung profits thanks to increased demand for its processors and memory chips -- it is also expected to launch the Galaxy S6 around March. The manufacturer’s most advanced chips are expected to be sold to Apple Inc. for the next iPhone after it lost out last year to competitors, according to analyst Lee Min Hee from I’M Investment & Securities Co.
Samsung did not identify sales of its smartphones, but analytics firms say it shipped upward of 77 million devices, down from 86 million during the same period a year ago. Sales of rival Apple’s iPhones lept 46 percent to 74.5 million in its fiscal first quarter.
Samsung’s television and home appliance sales also fell 73 percent due to increasing manufacturing costs and stiff competition. Samsung’s net income has fallen for four straight quarters.