Samsung Electronics, the world's largest maker of memory chips, smartphones and flat screens, saw its operating profit hit a three-year low in the third quarter, missing analysts' estimates, a regulatory filing showed Tuesday.
Preliminary figure for Samsung's operating profit was 4.1 trillion won (3.85 billion U.S. dollars) in the three months ending Sept. 30, down 59.65 percent from the same period of last year. From three months before, the profit was down 42.98 percent.
It marked the lowest since the third quarter of 2011 when the operating profit recorded 4.33 trillion won. It more than halved compared with the record high operating profit of 10.16 trillion won in the third quarter of 2013.
The profit missed an average market expectation of around 4.47 trillion won, but it breached the lowest bound of 3.9 trillion won in the earnings estimates. Samsung shares rose 1.56 percent to trade at 1,169,000 won as of 10:15 a.m. (0115 GMT) after the recent fall on worries about the third-quarter earnings.
Samsung's operating profit fell below the 8-trillion-won level in the second quarter before declining further below the 5- trillion-won mark in the third quarter for the first time in about three years.
Revenue was 47 trillion won in the third quarter, down 20.45 percent from a year earlier. From three months ago, the revenue declined 10.22 percent. It also missed market expectations of 49.6 trillion won.
It was the first time since the second quarter of 2012 that Samsung's revenue fell below the 50-trillion-won level. The revenue marked the lowest since the first quarter of 2012 when it posted 45.27 trillion won.
The company did not unveil its estimates for net profit and a breakdown of each business. The final results will be announced later this month after an external audit.
Samsung registered an operating margin of 8.72 percent in the third quarter, far below the 14-16 percent range tallied between 2012 and 2013.
The earnings shock came as Samsung's mobile business, which makes smartphones, showed underperformance on weak global demand for mobile devices and fiercer competition with rivals such as Chinese manufacturers and Apple that recently rolled out its new iPhone product.
The mobile unit's operating profit, which usually accounted for some 70 percent of the total, was estimated to fall to the front range of 2 trillion won in the third quarter after posting the 4-trillion-won level in the second quarter and the 6-trillion- won level in the first quarter.
Earnings in the TV business were believed to worsen due to rising costs caused by higher display panel prices. The home appliances unit was estimated to post a weak earnings result on the back of the earlier-than-expected end of the peak season for air conditioners.
The chip-making unit was estimated to show a stable performance due to higher chip prices amid strong demand and lower costs caused by advanced line-ups.
Samsung announced its plan Monday to invest about 15.6 trillion won in establishing new semiconductor plants in Pyeongtaek, some 70 km south of the capital Seoul, for three years from the first half of 2015.