Samsung Q4 operating profit up 50%, announces share buyback plans

Samsung Electronics on Tuesday posted a 50.16 percent jump in its fourth-quarter operating profit and announced a share buyback plan as it looks to move past a massive product recall of its Galaxy Note 7 handsets and alleged involvement in an ongoing political scandal in South Korea.

In a regulatory filing, Samsung Electronics, the flagship of South Korea's biggest conglomerate, said consolidated operating profit for the October-December 2016 quarter came in at 9.22 trillion Korean won, up from 6.14 trillion won a year earlier.

Samsung also said it planned to buy back 9.3 trillion won worth of shares this year, adding that the plan aims to reduce the total number of outstanding shares.

Investors received the earnings positive at the stock market, with Samsung shares up 0.63 percent at 1,915,000 won.

The company said fourth-quarter earnings were driven by the components businesses, which make memory chips and display panels. A weaker Korean won against the dollar also had a positive impact on its operating profits, said Samsung.

For the full financial year, operating profit climbed 10.7 percent at 29.24 trillion won on-year, even after the mobile business took a massive 96 percent hit in the July-September quarter from the discontinuation of the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 handsets.

The South Korean tech giant said fourth-quarter operating profits for the semiconductor business, which supplies memory chips to other companies including prominent smartphone makers, climbed 76.78 percent to 4.95 trillion won from a year earlier.

The display business, which makes OLED panels used on a variety of devices, posted an operating profit jump of 346.66 percent on-year.

The mobile business also showed signs of recovery, with operating profit up 12 percent on-year to 2.5 trillion won.

On Monday, Samsung finally disclosed that battery problems had led to many of its Note 7 handsets catching fire, after several months of investigations. The company previously said it expected an operating loss of more than $5 billion, spread over three quarters, as a result of the recall and eventual discontinuation of the Note 7.

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