Trial of Samsung heir focuses on father-to-son succession

The operating profit for the January-March period turned black from an operating loss of 35.2 billion won posted a quarter earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Samsung Electronics has today announced its earnings forecast for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2017.

The acting head of Samsung Group has gone on trial in South Korea for his alleged role in a corruption scandal that led to the ousting of the president. The company also expects to report a rather flat revenue figure - 50 trillion won (approx $44 billion), which is 0.4 percent higher than analyst estimates.

Samsung earned its highest quarterly operating profit of 10.16 trillion won in the third quarter of 2013 thanks to robust smartphone and chip sales.

The company's stock is trading near historic highs, despite Lee's troubles and the scrapping a year ago of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone due to fire-prone batteries. Lee is accused of funneling more than 38 million dollars to entities controlled by former President Park Geun-hye's confidante Choi Soon-sil in exchange for support for a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates that was deemed critical to cementing Lee's succession to the top of Samsung Group.

Ms Park was arrested last week, after being impeached, and sent to a detention centre, although she has not yet been formally charged.

"Right now, it's about as good as it gets for Samsung", said Park Jung-hoon, fund manager at Samsung shareholder HDC Asset Management told TechWire Asia.

Analysts said strong demand for mobile chips and displays for smartphones fueled the stellar profit during the typically slow season for smartphones and television sets. Even the release of the iPhone 8 is likely to boost the margin for Samsung as Apple reportedly ordered some 70 million units of Samsung's OLED panels this year to upgrade its display. Though Samsung has not spilled the beans regarding what will be unveiled, most likely the company is going to launch the Galaxy C7 Pro or the Galaxy C5 Pro smartphone in the country. The S8 was its first major smartphone launch since the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.

  • Patricia Jimenez