Samsung forecasts big year for 3D TV, memory chips

Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest TV brand and memory chip maker, forecast explosive growth in 3D TV sales and memory chips this year, during its fourth quarter investors conference on Friday.

The electronics giant expects demand for flat panel TVs and other products to soar this year as the world recovers from the recession. A lack of new investment during the downturn will also put a cap on production of most products, except LCD screens, keeping prices firm. The company sees a possible downturn in the LCD screen market in the second half of this year as new factories come on line globally, a boon to consumers who may see more LCD TV bargains late this year as a result.

The company is particularly bullish about the new 3D TV category, an area some analysts call a tough sell due to high prices and inconveniences such as the need to wear 3D glasses for viewing.

“We expect demand for 3D TVs to grow explosively,” said Sueohk Shim, vice president of Samsung’s visual display business. Samsung expects to sell 2 million 3D TVs this year, she said.

Strong global PC sales in the fourth quarter sent DRAM prices up as much as 30 per cent from the start of the quarter, boosting Samsung’s quarterly earnings, it said in a statement. Increased sales of consumer electronics such as mobile phones and flat panel TVs in the holiday season also helped the electronics giant in the final three months of last year.

The company swung to a 3.7 trillion Korean won (US$3.21 billion) operating profit in the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, after posting a 740 billion won loss at the same time last year. The operating profit matched Samsung’s own forecast for the quarter and slightly beat analyst expectations. The company’s revenue rose 19 per cent year-on-year to 39.2 trillion won in the quarter.

The company’s revenue rose 19 per cent to 39.2 trillion won in the fourth quarter fueling a record high 2009 for Samsung as revenue reached 136.3 trillion won for all of last year.

“Despite the uncertain business environment in 2009, Samsung was able to achieve record revenues and strong profitability,” said Robert Yi, head of investor relations at Samsung, in a conference call Friday. “We see this positive growth and performance flowing on into 2010 as the global economy continues to stabilize,” he added.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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