January 15, 2004 – Korea chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. reported record 4Q03 sales of $10.85 billion, up 14% sequentially and 21% year-on-year. Net income was $1.57 billion, up 24% from 4Q02, but short of analyst expectations of $1.7 billion and nearly flat sequentially, due to losses in its credit-card affiliate and devaluated stock holdings. For the full year 2003, revenue was $36.70 billion with earnings of $5.02 billion.
Sales were up in each of the company’s four business units (devices, telecommunications, digital media, and digital appliances), with all but appliances reporting a profit on operations. Samsung’s semiconductor division, which includes memory chips and flat screens, more than doubled its operating profits to $1.7 billion, up from $736.8 million a year ago.
For 2004, Samsung said it plans to buy back up to $1.7 billion in shares and expects to achieve “record profit and sales,” according to Chu Woosik, VP of investor relations. “Overall momentum is very strong,” he said, quoted in a Reuters story. Strong demand for flash memory chips has left the company meeting only 60%-70% of demand, with short supplies expected to continue through the first half of the year, he said.
The company plans to spend $4.4 billion on semiconductor capex, and an additional $2.3 billion for new capacity in liquid-crystal displays.