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Seoul, July 7 – Samsung Electronics on Friday said its second-quarter operating profit likely plunged about 96 per cent from a year earlier, as a chip oversupply and slow demand persisted.
The world’s largest memory chip and smartphone maker estimated its April-June profit at 600 billion won ($461.2 million), significantly down from the 14.1 trillion won it reported a year ago.
It marked the worst quarterly profit in 14 years since the first quarter of 2009, when the South Korean tech giant reported 590 billion won in operating profit, reports Yonhap news agency.
Sales likely fell 22.3 per cent to 60 trillion won from the previous year’s 77.2 trillion won, the company said in a regulatory filing.
The data for net profit was not available.
The tech giant did not provide the results of each business division and will release its final earnings report late this month.
Samsung’s Device Solutions division, which oversees its cash cow chip business, is forecast to have made losses of around 3-4 trillion won, according to analysts’ estimates.
If the estimate holds, it would mark the division’s second consecutive quarter of losses.
During the January-March period, Samsung reported its first financial loss in 14 years as chip inventories bulged significantly amid tapering global demand.
Prior to that, Samsung’s chip business recorded losses in the first quarter of 2009.
The chipmaker has forecast the global chip market will shrink 6 percent on-year to $563 billion this year, due to a sharp drop in demand, and warned of difficult conditions continuing throughout the year.
But there are some positive forecasts that the chip cycle has bottomed out, with the prospect of a surge in demand for memory chips used in artificial intelligence (AI)-powered products and services, including the generative AI chatbot ChatGPT.
Samsung Electronics shares have surged 29 per cent this year to date on that rosy prospect. That global memory chip makers have slashed production for the past few months added to that optimistic view.
Samsung joined its peers earlier this year to cut production to resolve a persistent supply glut.
“Memory chip inventory levels are expected to peak out in the third quarter,” Han Dong-hee, an analyst at SK securities, said.
“Samsung’s performance will improve faster than the wider industry’s recovery pace, as the impact of inventory write-downs will lessen.”
Industry tracker Trendforce warned, however, inventory levels “persistently remain high” despite chipmakers’ efforts to reduce supply, which keeps DRAM prices low.
“While production cutbacks may help to curtail quarterly price declines, a tangible recovery in prices may not be seen until 2024,” it said.