Despite recent setbacks in its long-running IP dispute with Apple, Samsung's third quarter profits rose by 85 per cent, the firm announced today, largely as a result of strong smartphone sales.
Acording to the Financial Times, revenue for the quarter was between $46bn (£28.4bn) and $47.7bn (£29.5bn), up from the previous year's figure of $37.2bn. Operating profit was between $7.1bn and $7.5bn, up from $3.8bn, comfortably outstripping analyst's expectations of $6.8bn for operating profit.
Despite this strong performance, Samsung shares fell slightly in late trading in Soeul on Friday following a 1.7 per cent rise earlier in the day, with investors uncertain about the effect of Apple's attempts to have certain Samsung products banned in the US.
Indeed, having peaked on 2 May, Samsung's shares have been under pressure due to Apple's litigation. In late August a U.S. federal jury ruled that Samsung had infringed some of Apple's design and software patents, leading to a fine of more than $1bn (£0.62bn), which has yet to be settled. Last month, Apple asked the judge to increase the award by $707m. Samsung has appealed the ruling.
Despite healthy sales of the Galaxy smartphone range, risks remain that operating profit at the company's mobile division, which analysts believe accounted for nearly 70 per cent of total operating profit during Q3, may slow from the fourth quarter due to competition from the iPhone 5 and increased marketing costs owing to Samsung's need to maintain market share in the face of its legal woes.
In addition, the semiconductor division recorded weaker results, as a weak PC market hit demand for for memory chips.
"The third quarter may be the peak in terms of earnings. The fourth-quarter operating profit is expected to decrease 7.8 per cent on quarter as slower profit at its telecoms unit seems inevitable due to an increase in marketing expenses," said Lee Sun-tae, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.
On the plus side, the recent launch of the Galaxy Note 2 tablet and an improved contribution from European sales as a result of a stronger euro should allow Samsung to enter the fourth quarter with a couple of trump cards in its hand.