Samsung Electronics logs $2.59 bln net profit in Q1

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Friday reported a first-quarter net profit of 2.78 trillion won ($2.59 billion), a 30 percent fall year-on-year amid weak demand for flat panels and televisions.

The company, the world’s largest memory chipmaker and second-largest mobile phone producer, reported an operating profit of 2.95 trillion won and revenue of 36.98 trillion — in line with its earnings guidance released earlier this month.

Samsung said overall net profit had been declining since the strong first-quarter performance in 2010, due to lower memory chip prices and reduced profitability in LCD panels and TV sets.

“A difficult business environment remained in the first quarter due to rising costs of raw materials, uncertainties in the financial market in Europe, and the devastating earthquake in Japan,” said vice-president Robert Yi.

Yi said in a statement South Korea’s largest firm would “actively respond” to the challenges by improving cost-competitiveness in memory products, launching new smartphones and tablet PCs and focusing more on premium LCD panels and TVs.

The company predicted that the tough business conditions would continue in the second quarter because of lingering worries over the global economy and tight competition in consumer electronics and the mobile businesses.