Samsung Electronics posted KRW 60.56 trillion in consolidated revenue and KRW 15.64 trillion in operating profit for the first quarter of 2018.
First quarter revenue was primarily led by Samsung’s Memory Business and increased sales of its flagship mobile products, including the Galaxy S9.
Total revenue grew approximately 20 percent YoY to KRW 60.6 trillion. Operating profit for the quarter was a record high, posting an increase of KRW 5.7 trillion YoY. Profitability improved significantly in the quarter thanks to the Semiconductor Business and the early global launch of the Galaxy S9. All in all, the operating margin in the first quarter was 25.8 percent, up 6.2 percentage points YoY.
By business unit, the Semiconductor Business’ significant earnings performance was driven by demand for memory chipsets for high value-added servers and graphics products. The System LSI and Foundry businesses also contributed to first quarter earnings, backed by strong demand for chips used for smartphones and crypto-currency mining.
For the Display Panel segment, which manufactures OLED and LCD screens, profits were affected by slow demand for flexible OLED panels and greater competition between rigid OLED and LTPS LCD. An imbalance between supply and demand in the LCD market, brought on by competitors’ increased production capacity, also weighed on earnings.
For the IT & Mobile Communications Division, the early launch of the Galaxy S9 and solid sales of the Galaxy S8 smartphones resulted in considerable growth in earnings.
As for the Consumer Electronics Division, earnings by the Visual Display Business slid YoY following an adjustment in its TV lineup where some mid-range to low-end products were removed. As for the Digital Appliances Business, rising raw material prices and other factors impacted profitability.
For the second quarter, Samsung expects the Memory Business to maintain its strong performance, but generating overall earnings growth across the company will be a challenge due to weakness in the Display Panel segment and a decline in profitability in the Mobile Business amid rising competition in the high-end segment.
Demand for server and mobile DRAM is expected to be robust and orders for high-density storage chips will grow as the price of NAND softens in the second quarter. For the System LSI and Foundry businesses, shipments of 10-nanometer APs and crypto-currency mining chips will expand but earnings will be impacted due to sluggish demand for smartphone components.
The Display Panel segment will seek profitability in OLED by cutting costs and improving yield, amid the weak demand for flexible products. As for LCD panels, oversupply is anticipated despite an expected boon in TV sales in time with an upcoming major global soccer event.
In the Mobile Business, profitability is expected to decline QoQ due to stagnant sales of flagship models amid weak demand and an increase in marketing expenses. Meanwhile, earnings for the Consumer Electronics Division are projected to improve due to increased shipments of new products such as QLED TVs and strong seasonal demand for air conditioners.
The overall business outlook for the second half regarding components is positive, as the company looks forward to strong demand for DRAM and increased sales of OLED panels.
For set products, Samsung aims to sustain profitability by strengthening its market leadership in the sales of premium products despite challenging global market conditions.
In the mid to long term, Samsung will strengthen its business capabilities by delivering differentiated technology in the component business and solidifying its leadership in cutting-edge technologies such as AI and 5G. The company believes opportunities will widen for the set business, as digital devices become increasingly connected.
Total capital expenditure in the first quarter was KRW 8.6 trillion including KRW 7.2 trillion for the Semiconductor Business and KRW 0.8 trillion for the Display Panel segment.
Samsung has not yet finalized its capex plan for 2018, but the company expects it to decline YoY. Capex rose substantially in 2017 due to efforts to respond to market growth and emerging technologies, which included expanding the production capacity for flexible OLED panels.
Semiconductor Posts Solid Earnings on Strong Memory Performance
The Semiconductor businesses posted KRW 11.55 trillion in operating profit on consolidated revenue of KRW 20.78 trillion for the quarter.
Overall, the Memory Business achieved strong earnings, despite weak seasonality, thanks to a continuation of favorable market conditions as well as strong server demand.
For NAND, demand remained stable due to an expansion of cloud infrastructure and the continuation of a trend toward higher density solution products. Samsung posted solid earnings by concentrating on sales of high-density mobile storage and value-added solutions, including SSDs over 2TB for datacenters and over 8TB for enterprise, backed by a stable ramp-up of 64-layer 3D NAND production at the company’s Pyeongtaek plant.
For DRAM, demand stayed strong thanks to growth in servers and graphics products. Server demand remained high due to continuous expansion of datacenter infrastructure. Mobile demand saw a stable increase thanks to content growth across all segments while PC demand saw moderate growth in line with seasonal patterns. In graphics, total demand increased thanks to strong demand for both graphics and crypto-currency mining cards.
Looking at the second quarter outlook for NAND, total demand is expected to increase. Datacenters will remain a key driver for SSD demand, and mobile demand is forecast to be strong as the high-density trend continues. Samsung will continue to increase high-density server SSD supply and drive more eStorage strategies. Looking further ahead to the second half, server and mobile demand is expected to be solid, as the trend of SSD replacing HDD accelerates and storage expansion across smartphone segments continues. The company will focus on continued migration to 64-layer while also strengthening product and cost competitiveness and ramping up next-generation products in a timely manner.
As for the second quarter DRAM outlook, strong server demand is anticipated due to datacenter expansion in the US and China. Mobile demand, driven by content growth, is expected to remain solid. Samsung will focus on expediting qualification of 1Ynm and expanding 1Xnm products, while maintaining a flexible product mix. For the second half, demand from all applications is set to increase. Robust server demand will continue while AI and machine learning will drive demand for high-performance High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). For graphics, strong demand for consoles and VGA cards for crypto-currency mining will continue. Solid mobile demand is expected as manufacturers consider high-performance and high-density memory for flagship devices. Samsung will focus on flexible supply and investment, and expanding value-added sales through high-density server DRAM and differentiated products such as HBM2 and LPDDR4X.
For the System LSI Business, mobile DDI earnings declined due to slow OLED panel demand, but overall earnings increased amid strong demand for mobile processors and image sensors. In the second quarter, demand for premium smartphone components is expected to slow, and Samsung will focus on the stable supply of mobile processors and image sensors for flagship models. Looking further ahead to the second half, demand for image sensors is expected to rise as manufacturers increasingly adopt dual cameras and 3-stack FRS sensors. The company will focus on sustaining growth in mobile processor sales and expanding its offerings from mobile to areas such as IoT, VR and automotive.
For the Foundry Business, despite weak seasonality, total earnings grew QoQ due to increased demand for High Performance Computing (HPC) chipsets. During the quarter, the company also broke ground on an EUV-line at its Hwaseong plant to address future demand for 7-nano and below products. In the second quarter, solid demand for high performance chipsets is expected. Samsung plans to expand HPC and 10-nano mobile products and promote FD-SOI and 8-inch processes. In 2018, despite slowing mobile demand, the company aims to diversify its customer and application bases and continue to offer derivative processes, including those for 8- and 11-nano chips. Through these efforts, the company expects to achieve over USD 10 billion in sales and maintain a strong second place in the foundry market in 2018.
Display to Improve Production Efficiency
The Display Panel business posted KRW 7.54 trillion in consolidated revenue and KRW 0.41 trillion in operating profit for the quarter.
For the OLED business, QoQ earnings declined due to a slowdown in demand and intensified competition between rigid OLED and LTPS LCD panels.
For the LCD business, despite a decrease in shipments under weak seasonality and a continued decline in LCD panel ASPs, earnings remained flat QoQ thanks to cost reductions and an expansion in the sales portion of value-added LCD products, boosted particularly by UHD and large-sized panels.
Looking ahead to the second quarter, amid forecasts for weak demand for OLED panels, Samsung will strive to secure profitability by reducing costs and improving production efficiency. For LCD, under unfavorable supply-demand conditions due to capacity expansions in the industry, the company will focus on developing value-added and differentiated products as well as reducing costs.
For the second half, OLED panels in the smartphone industry are expected to see a rebound in demand, especially as demand for flexible panels remains strong in the high-end segment. Under these circumstances, Samsung will strengthen cost competitiveness and diversify its customer base through new products and technologies in order to increase market share. The company will also aim to secure new growth engines by applying its competencies in new applications on top of smartphones.
For LCD in the second half, while the company foresees market uncertainties due to growing competition and capacity expansions, Samsung will continue to strengthen its strategic partnerships with major business partners and differentiate its value-added products, including large-sized and high resolution TV panels.
Mobile Earnings to Decrease in Q2 with Higher Marketing Costs
The IT & Mobile Communications Division posted KRW 28.45 trillion in consolidated revenue and KRW 3.77 trillion in operating profit for the quarter.
While overall market demand for smartphones and tablets declined during weak seasonality, Samsung’s smartphone shipments increased QoQ due to an early release of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ as well as solid sales of the Galaxy S8. As a result of increased sales, mainly driven by premium models, revenue and profit significantly increased both QoQ and YoY. Earnings for the Networks Business also improved due to LTE investments from major overseas partners and an expansion of new solutions for optimization of network operations.
Looking ahead to the second quarter, Samsung expects earnings to decrease QoQ due to a slowdown in sales of its flagship models and increased marketing expenses to address the situation. Samsung will aim to maintain sales momentum of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ by expanding the operation of experiential stores, strengthening the cooperation with partners, and reinforcing promotional programs such as trade-ins.
For the second half, Samsung will seek to strengthen sales in the premium market by launching a new flagship model and maintaining long-tail sales of the Galaxy S9, S9+, and flagship models from the previous year. In the mass segment, Samsung will introduce new models optimized for specific markets and strengthen both offline and online sales channels. Moreover, Samsung will continuously invest in expanding the Bixby 2.0 open ecosystem to provide a seamless multi-device experience for consumers.
For the Networks Business, the company expects increased earnings QoQ for the second quarter and will focus on continued growth by expanding its LTE business and leading the world’s first commercialization of 5G.
Consumer Electronics to Focus on Premium Products
The Consumer Electronics Division posted KRW 9.74 trillion in consolidated revenue and KRW 0.28 trillion in operating profit for the quarter.
Overall, the TV market decreased QoQ due to slow seasonality following the year-end holiday, but grew YoY due to increased demand in emerging markets such as the CIS, the Middle East, and Latin America.
Although earnings were slightly down YoY, due to a restructuring of the sales mix with a defocus on the entry lineup, the company maintained its leading position in the premium TV market by continuing to achieve high market share in the USD 2,500 and above premium segment, thanks to expanded sales of flagship models, including QLED and ultra-large screen TVs.
Looking to the second quarter, TV market demand is projected to deliver YoY growth, driven mainly by demand momentum from the major global soccer event and growth in emerging markets. Samsung will aim to improve results by expanding sales of new models, particularly during the soccer competition. For 2018, the market is forecast to slightly grow. With the addition of the company’s launch of 8K and Micro LED TVs in the second half, Samsung will seek to solidify its premium leadership and focus on ensuring sustainable and profitable growth in the mid to long term.
For the Digital Appliances Business, the market saw moderate growth in the first quarter due to increased demand in both developed and emerging markets. Samsung’s sales improved YoY thanks to strong sales of premium products, including the FlexWash washing machine, Cube air purifier and system air conditioners. However, earnings decreased slightly YoY due to an increase in prices of raw materials and operating costs of the new factory in North America.
Looking to the second quarter, Samsung will aim to accelerate growth by expanding its premium lineup, including QuickDrive washing machine and POWERStick PRO vacuum cleaner, and by increasing air conditioner sales during the peak season. For 2018, the company will continue to focus on strengthening premium sales in advanced markets, reinforcing its B2B business for built-in appliances and system air conditioners, and expanding its online business.
※ Consolidated Sales and Operating Profit by Segment based on K-IFRS (2016~2018 1Q)
Note 1: Sales for each business include intersegment sales
Note 2: CE (Consumer Electronics), IM (IT & Mobile Communications), DS (Device Solutions), DP (Display Panel)
Note 3: Information on annual earnings is stated according to the business divisions as of 2018.
Note 4: Earnings from the Health & Medical Equipment Business (HME) are excluded from the CE Division in 1Q 2018.