Samsung: Smartphone demand to drive second half earnings

Samsung: Smartphone demand to drive second half earnings
The new Galaxy Z Flip 5G. (Supplied)
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Updated 31 July 2020

Samsung: Smartphone demand to drive second half earnings

Samsung: Smartphone demand to drive second half earnings
  • Huawei’s rise was spurred by sales in China, where fresh COVID-19 cases are low, but Samsung is likely to gain back market share as demand in other countries recover

SEOUL: Samsung Electronics expects a recovery in demand for smartphones and consumer electronics to underpin profits in the second half of the year, after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) saw a shift to online working boost quarterly earnings.
It tempered its relatively upbeat forecast when announcing second quarter results on Thursday with a warning that the pandemic and trade disputes posed ongoing risks for earnings.
Samsung posted a 23 percent jump in operating profit in the April-June quarter on the back of strong DRAM memory chip sales to online server providers, along with cuts in marketing costs.
Prices for the chips, which create temporary workspaces to allow devices to multitask, spiked in the second quarter as people shifted to working and learning online from home because of the pandemic. Samsung’s Korean peer SK Hynix and US firm Micron Technology Inc. also benefited from the trend.
Operating profit at Samsung’s chip business surged 60 percent to 5.43 trillion won in the second quarter, accounting for two thirds of its total 8.1 trillion won profit.
Samsung said it expected server demand for chips to remain solid for the remainder of the year and a boost in smartphone demand, given planned product launches and anticipated demand for 5G-capable phones.
Still, Samsung and other Asian tech companies in the global supply chain have been rocked by trade tensions between the United States and China that has put cross-border trade in components, devices and technology at the mercy of politics.
“Given many uncertainties including COVID-19, trade tension and that customers may change their inventory and investment strategies, it’s still difficult to say when (DRAM) price will hit an inflection point,” senior vice president of memory business Han Jin-man said.
The company would keep a close eye on chip inventory levels at data center firms who stockpiled in the first half to meet telecommuting demand, he said.
SK Hynix and some analysts have painted a more downbeat outlook, expectating a fall in DRAM chip prices.
“Demand for the second half ... will be relatively weak ... but it’s not going to be a hard landing as the market had feared,” said Choi Young-san, analyst at E-Best Securities.
Quarterly operating profit in Samsung’s mobile division rose 25 percent to 1.95 trillion won. Total revenue dropped 6 percent to 53 trillion won.
During the quarter, China’s Huawei overtook Samsung as the world’s biggest seller of phones, shipping 55.8 million devices to Samsung’s 53.7 million, according to research firm Canalys.
Huawei’s rise was spurred by sales in China, where fresh COVID-19 cases are low, but Samsung is likely to gain back market share as demand in other countries recover.
Samsung plans to unveil new flagship smartphones, including the Galaxy Note and a foldable phone in the second half, as well as expand sales of mid-tier models.
Samsung also said its display business, which makes screens for mobile phones, TVs and monitors and counts Apple Inc. as a customer, is expected to improve late this year as set makers launch new products to meet demand from lockdowns easing and people shopping for year-end holidays.


Emirates stops flights to three major Australian cities

Emirates stops flights to three major Australian cities
Updated 11 min ago

Emirates stops flights to three major Australian cities

Emirates stops flights to three major Australian cities
  • Flights to/from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne will be suspended until further notice: Emirates
  • The airline will still run two flights a week to Perth

DUBAI: Emirates has suspended flights to Australia's three largest cities as the country further restricts international arrivals over fears of new virus strains.
The Dubai-based carrier was one of the last to maintain routes into and out of the country's east coast throughout most of the pandemic but on Friday evening told travellers a handful of planned flights next week would be the last.
"Due to operational reasons, Emirates flights to/from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne will be suspended until further notice," Emirates said on its website.
The airline will still run two flights a week to Perth, but the cuts are another barrier for tens of thousands of stranded Australians still attempting to return home.
The Australian government responded by announcing more repatriation flights and said other carriers still flying services to the cities could fill the gap.
"The capacity that Emirates was able to use within the cap will be allocated to other airlines, ensuring that there are still as many tickets, as many seats available into Australia," Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said.
A small number of airlines - including Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines - are still running services to Australia but local media were already reporting delays and cancellations among returning travellers.
Australia's borders have effectively been closed since March to curb the spread of the virus, with the government even limiting the number of citizens allowed to return.
Last week travel restrictions were further tightened, with arrival numbers slashed and all travellers into the country requiring a negative Covid-19 test before flying.
In making the changes, Prime Minister Scott Morrison cited a growing number of people in quarantine testing positive for new strains of Covid-19.
Fears that a variant of the virus from Britain, believed to be more contagious, had leaked into Brisbane from hotel quarantine triggered a snap lockdown in the city last week.
"There are many unknowns and uncertainties in relation to the new strain, and so that's why this precautionary approach, we believe, is very sensible," Morrison said.
Australia continues to deal relatively well with the virus, having recorded about 28,600 cases and 909 deaths linked to Covid-19 in a population of 25 million.