Samsung heir accused of bribery, perjury as trial opens

Pablo Tucker
April 9, 2017

The company on Thursday estimated its operating profit for the first quarter should jump almost 50 percent from the same period a year ago, while its revenue should be about flat but better than analysts expected.

The 48% rise in operating profit, which is the highest in nearly four years, comes as the company hopes to recover lost sales and customer trust with its Galaxy S8 smartphone. Samsung estimates revenue will remain flat at around 50 trillion won for the first three months of 2017.

Now, the company's future earnings rely heavily on the success of its flagship duo Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, which will hit the shelves sometime in April.

Samsung, in a regulatory filing, said its January-March profit was likely 9.9 trillion won ($8.76 billion), compared with an average forecast of 9.4 trillion won from a Thomson Reuters survey of 18 analysts.

Park indicted Lee in late February along with four other Samsung executives, but the 48-year-old heir was the only one to have been detained. Prosecutors said notebooks from An Chong-bum, a former chief secretary for economic affairs and policy coordination, back claims Lee ordered money funneled to a friend of Park to secure government backing for a pivotal 2015 merger.

Lee's lawyers have previously denied all charges brought against Lee. They accused him of playing a key role in an influence-peddling scandal that set off mass protests and led to the ouster of President Park Geun-hye. It is scheduled to give more details including quarterly net profit later in the month. Problems began previous year with widespread reports of exploding Galaxy Note 7 handsets.

Data from IHS Markit showed Samsung was the dominant market player in both DRAM and NAND flash memory businesses last quarter. The industry believes the memory chip market since the latter half of a year ago has entered a new super cycle, a period of an upturn as the result of replacements with high-performance memory in PCs and strong demand for mobile devices. The figure is Samsung's second-highest ever, behind only the record 10.16 trillion won operating profit it logged for July-September 2013.

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