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​Samsung's memory business leads record Q1 profits

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Samsung Electronics has posted a record operating profit of 15.64 trillion won for the first quarter of this year[1].

The all-time-high, a rise of 58.03 percent from a year ago, was propelled by its semiconductor business, especially in memory, which contributed 11.55 trillion won. The first quarter is conventionally an off-season for memory chips but high demand from servers and graphics[2] led growth, the company said.

Its logic chip and contract chip-making businesses also saw strong demand for chips used in smartphones and cryptocurrency mining, Samsung added. Last year in the fourth quarter the chip business posted 10.9 trillion won, its previous high.

The earlier launch of the Galaxy S9[3] and S9 Plus[4] also allowed mobile to contribute 3.77 trillion won.

Sales of premium products allowed an operating margin of 25.8 percent, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

In displays, however, flexible OLED suffered from slowing demand and LCD saw more supply drop prices; the business posted 410 billion won compared to 1.3 trillion won a year ago.

Memory will maintain its strong performances in the second quarter, Samsung said, driven by server and mobile DRAM and softening NAND prices. More 10-nanometer application processors and cryptocurrency mining chips will be shipped, but the overall fall of phone components will also have an impact.

Overall earnings will also be challenged by a decline in profitability in mobile and competitors in the high-end. The display business will continue to be weak, it added.

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