Samsung predicts record profits for third quarter as memory business booms

Key Points
  • Samsung expects a record 179 percent annual jump in operating profits for the September quarter
  • The South Korean tech giant said it expects an operating profit of 14.5 trillion Korean won and consolidated sales of about 62 trillion won
  • One analyst told CNBC that Samsung could benefit from positive trends in the semiconductor industry over the next two quarters
Samsung logo
Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images

Samsung Electronics on Friday said it was expecting record operating profits of about 14.5 trillion Korean won ($12.8 billion) for the September quarter, seeing a massive jump of nearly 179 percent from the same period a year earlier.

That estimate exceeds a Reuters average forecast of 14.3 trillion Korean won in operating profits.

Samsung Electronics shares closed down 1.46 percent. Following Samsung's earnings guidance, its CEO unexpectedly resigned.

In the previous quarter, Samsung posted an operating profit of 14.1 trillion won ($12.67 billion) that topped Apple's operating income of $10.77 billion for the same period.

The South Korean tech giant also said it expected consolidated sales to be about 62 trillion Korean won in the third quarter, a touch lower than the 62.1 trillion won market forecast.

Over recent quarters, the world's largest maker of memory chips, smartphones and other electronics products has seen its booming semiconductor business as a major earnings driver.

Samsung's operating profits estimate could partly reflect a better pricing trend in the semiconductor industry, according to Mehdi Hosseini, senior analyst and senior VP for semiconductors at Susquehanna Financial Group.

"Looking forward, memory prices are going to remain stable in certain areas like DRAM [dynamic random-access memory]. They're showing continued growth off of a higher base," Hosseini told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday. "So memory prices going up, investment is very rational, any additional capacity is going to be very difficult. Demand is holding up too."

Samsung is 'doing great' and mobile will 'surprise on the upside'

Hosseini also said he expected the upside in semiconductors to continue in the fourth quarter and into the first quarter of 2018. He added that Samsung, which is a major parts supplier to Apple, could also benefit from the new iPhones launched this year.

Earlier this year, reports said Apple ordered 70 million OLED display panels from Samsung for its new line of iPhones. OLED offers brighter displays and better power efficiency over liquid crystal displays.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Samsung's components division could make $110 from each of the "top-of-the-line, $1,000 iPhone X that Apple sells."

Moreover, Samsung's mobile business is likely to also benefit from the flagship Galaxy S8 and S8+ launched this year, and more recently its Galaxy Note 8 handsets.

"So semiconductor is doing great, mobile is going to surprise to the upside, and the display —they're going to benefit from iPhone X. All looks good, at least for the next one or two quarters," Hosseini concluded.