By Joo Kyung-don
SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Tuesday its operating profit in the first quarter rose 2.73 percent from a year earlier as robust demand for chips offset a slump in smartphone sales and home appliances amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The South Korean tech giant expected first-quarter operating profit at 6.4 trillion won (US$5.2 billion) in the January-March period, up from 6.23 trillion won a year ago.
It also beat the market consensus of 6.19 trillion won in operating profit in the survey conducted by Yonhap Infomax, the financial arm of Yonhap News Agency, on 20 Korean brokerage houses.
In its earnings guidance, Samsung Electronics expected its first-quarter sales at 55 trillion won in the three-month period, up 4.98 percent from a year earlier. The figure was in line with the median estimate of 55.3 trillion won.
Samsung, the world's leading memory chip and smartphone vendor, did not break down performances of its respective business divisions, saying it will announce the detailed earnings later this month.
Analysts here said Samsung's semiconductor business may have helped the company stay afloat amid the novel coronavirus crisis on the back of increased demand for server chips for data centers and steady rise of memory chip prices.
But smartphone sales might have struggled in the face of weak demand amid the COVID-19 outbreak around the globe.