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Samsung’s profit plummets amid global economic woes

The South Korean tech giant’s operating profit for the three months to December was 4.3 trillion won (£2.8bn), down 69% compared with a year earlier.

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A Samsung shop in Seoul

Samsung Electronics said on Tuesday that its profit for the last quarter plummeted nearly 70% as the weak global economy depressed demand for its consumer electronics products and computer memory chips.

The company’s operating profit of 4.3 trillion won (£2.8 billion) for the three months to December fell 69% compared with a year earlier, representing its lowest quarterly profit since the third quarter of 2014.

Revenue fell 8% to 70.46 trillion won (£46.25 billion).

The South Korean tech giant thrived during the first two years of the pandemic thanks to its dual strengths in parts and finished products, benefiting from robust demand for PCs, TVs and chips powering computer servers as Covid-19 forced millions to work at home.

But it has been harder for the company to weather the economic shock unleashed by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which disrupted industrial supply chains and left major economies grappling with higher inflation and slower growth.

“The business environment deteriorated significantly in the fourth quarter due to weak demand amid a global economic slowdown,” Samsung said in a statement.

South Korea Earnings Samsung
Samsung said chip prices fell sharply amid weakened demand (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

The company’s profit from its bread-and-butter semiconductor business came to 270 billion won (£177 million) for the last quarter, down significantly from the 8.83 trillion won (£5.8 billion) a year earlier.

Samsung said chip prices fell sharply amid weakened demand as clients adjusted their inventories in face of “deepening uncertainties” in the global economy, a problem the company said is likely to extend into the first quarter of 2023.

Samsung also expects demand for its smartphones and TVs to fall further in the first quarter amid the global economic downturn.

Samsung’s share price fell 3.5% on Tuesday.

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