SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Samsung Electronics' fourth-quarter operating profit hit a new high due to solid Galaxy smartphone sales and improved earnings in semiconductor business.
Operating profit was 8.84 trillion won (8.26 billion U.S. dollars) in the three months ended December, nearly double from a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing on Friday. It was the highest in its history, and posted the record-breaking earnings for five straight quarters. The reading was in line with the preliminary figure estimated by Samsung.
Sales increased 18 percent to 56 trillion won, and net income surged 76 percent to 7.04 trillion won.
The mobile-phone division made a 5.44 trillion operating profit, which accounted for more than 60 percent of the total in the quarter, thanks to rising demand for the Galaxy devices. The chip- making unit saw its profit rise due to demand for high-margin products and rising PC DRAM prices.
Samsung posted a record profit "thanks to strong smartphone sales and rising PC DRAM prices amid tight supply as well as solid mobile DRAM demand," Kim Young-chan, a Seoul-based analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp., said in a report before the earnings announcement.
The South Korean company sold 63.5 million smartphones in the three-month period, up 9.6 percent from three months before, according to Kim's estimate. Samsung doesn't provide shipment figure. Kim expected Samsung's smartphone sales to increase 48.6 percent to 320 million in 2013.
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