Faith in Samsung’s finances, market share, and general business outlook was shaken last year, following successive quarterly declines in smartphone sales, revenue and profit levels. However this year, analysts are expecting Samsung to post stronger than expected first quarter earnings, led by its chip and smartphone divisions.
Kyobo Securities estimates that Samsung will see an operating profit of 5.72 trillion won ($5 billion), Meritz Securities expects profits to reach 5.6 trillion won, while others are anticipating 5.2 trillion won. Operating profits are expected to increase quarter-on-quarter by somewhere in the region of 8 percent. C.W. Chung at Nomura Securities has revised Samsung’s share target price to 1.75 million won from 1.65 million won.
“Market forecast of Samsung Electronics’ profit estimates was about 5.2 trillion won. However, this is too conservative. Samsung will do better and it will do much better in the second quarter,” – Park Yoo-ak, Meritz Securities
Why the change in opinion on Samsung’s outlook? One point raised is that Samsung’s industry leading memory business is expected to see strong demand this year, but a fair bit of it has to do with the industry reception to and hardware inside the Galaxy S6.
First up, strong smartphone specifications and features are expected to give a boost to Samsung’s competitive edge in the high-end market, helping to reverse the downwards decline in the company’s smartphone sales. Analysts are not expecting an instant resurgence to previous highs, but Bernstein Research and Deutsche Bank suggest that the Galaxy S6 will help boost Samsung’s bottom line non-the-less.
“the S6 does not need to be a mega-success; even a further decline to 27 percent market share in the premium segment would be more than enough,” – Mark Newman, Bernstein Research
The second reason for such optimism is due to Samsung’s decision to make use of even more in-house components for the Galaxy S6, which should save the company on some production costs. Samsung is making use of its own Exynos processor, DRAM and NAND memory, and AMOLED display technologies inside the S6. One firm suggests a potential saving of $28 per phone, which could turn into a significant profit boost given Samsung’s reported 20 million Galaxy S6 pre-orders.
Samsung still has a lot to prove this year and we will have to see if the Galaxy S6 can really boost the company’s profitability as much as some are expecting.