PARIS: Sprawling South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics has recovered from a humiliating recall fiasco and the arrest of its de facto leader with remarkable speed, analysts said, after the tech giant stunned investors with record-breaking profits.
But the world’s top smartphone maker, one of the huge family-run chaebols which dominate the South Korean economy, will be confronted by tougher challenges in the future as Chinese rivals take aim at its semiconductor business and questions emerge over the firm’s leadership.
Samsung took observers by surprise this week when it posted a forecast-beating 14.1 trillion won (US$12.6 billion) in operating profits in the second quarter – a 73 percent jump from the previous year – putting it on course to better rival Apple for the first time.
Consensus forecasts of Apple’s operating profits, due to report this week, are estimated at around $10.6 billion.
Samsung said huge sales of its new Galaxy S8 smartphone and demand for its memory chips were behind the jump in the April-June period and predicted another blockbuster report for the current quarter to September.
The firm has been battling to overcome an embarrassing recall last year of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone over exploding batteries, which cost it billions of dollars and dealt a severe blow to its reputation.
“I would argue Samsung turned that corner pretty quickly, at least from a financial point of view,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.
Dawson noted the 28 percent increase in sales in Samsung’s mobile division, contrasting it to the 15 percent drop the firm saw during the third quarter of last year when the recall crisis was at its peak.