SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. (IW 1000/14) said Friday it expected to post a record operating profit of 10.1 trillion won (US$9.4 billion) in the third quarter of this year.
The estimate was slightly higher than analyst predictions and represents a 25% increase from a revised operating profit of 8.06 trillion won a year earlier for the world's top maker of smartphones, memory chips and flat-panel TVs.
Analysts said rising memory chip and semiconductor prices were likely the main growth driver in the July-September period, as Samsung's flagship Galaxy S series struggles in the increasingly saturated high end of the global smartphone market.
Samsung's strength in the market for cheaper smartphones was also a factor, they said.
The third quarter estimate marks a 6% rise from the April-June quarter, when the tech behemoth posted an operating profit of 9.53 trillion won.
Sales in the July-September period were expected to reach 59 trillion won, up 13% from the same period last year.
The world's largest technology firm by revenue was giving earnings guidance before official results later this month.
"This is slightly better than expectations," said. Choi Do-Yeon at Kyobo Securities. "The semiconductor business seems to be on an uptick while the stagnation in the mobile sector is milder than expected."
The company did not provide a net profit estimate or a breakdown of figures for each of its business units.
Analysts estimate that Samsung shipped between 85 million and 89 million smartphones in the third quarter.
In the second quarter, Samsung had a dominant 33.1% share of the global market, while rival Apple trailed in second place with 13.6%, according to researcher Strategy Analytics. Samsung does not disclose unit sales figures for its phones.
Samsung shares were trading up more than one percent in the morning but dipped later in the day to close unchanged from the opening price of 1.418 million won.
Brian Park, an analyst with Tong Yang Securities, said Samsung's estimate indicated potentially slowing profit growth at its mobile business.
"Smartphones have been the key driver of profits for Samsung but with their growth now mainly being focused on the mid-to-lower-end segment, maintaining a status quo seems to be the best scenario for Samsung going forward," Park told Dow Jones Newswires.
"How well the company's other divisions perform will be key," Park added.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013