Samsung full year profit drops 53% after fourth quarter profit takes 34% hit

For the full year, Samsung is expecting to post an annual total operating profit drop of 53%.

Samsung says it shipped 6.7 million 5G smartphones in 2019

Samsung Electronics expects to post an operating profit of 7.1 trillion won and revenue of 59 trillion for the fourth quarter of 2019, the company announced in its earnings guidance.

The figures are down around 34% and 0.5% from a year ago during the same period.

The profit drop is a continuation of its 2019 second quarter and third quarter earnings slump that saw profits halved due to weak demand for memory chips in comparison to 2018.

Samsung's fourth quarter operating profit, however, was slightly above South Korean analysts' consensus of 6.5 trillion won, a sign that memory demand may have slightly recovered. While DRAM prices remain a third of their peak from 2018, NAND prices steadily increased throughout 2019.

Samsung also launched the Galaxy Fold in September, which likely gave a slight boost to its mobile business in the usually quieter fourth quarter.

Samsung Display on the other hand, which relies heavily on mobile OLEDs, is expected to post lower profits due to weak demand from clients.

After taking the fourth quarter into account, Samsung is expected to post an annual total operating profit of 27.2 trillion won for 2019 -- a 53% drop from 2018.

The second quarter of 2020 will be pivotal to see if Samsung's mobile and memory businesses can return to form.

The company moved 6.7 million 5G devices last year. It is is also planning to expand the deployment of its higher-priced devices as more countries deploy their 5G networks this year.

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