Seoul, South Korea - Samsung Electronics Co., the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, computer-memory chips and TVs, posted its highest profit in at least two years after beating Apple and Nokia in smartphone sales.
Net income jumped 81 percent from a year earlier to 5.05 trillion won ($4.4 billion), the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in a statement Friday, beating the 4.24 trillion-won average of 29 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Samsung shares rose to a record in Seoul as earnings at the mobile-phone business almost tripled in the quarter, with new models such as the Galaxy Note taking on Apple's iPhone and iPad. Samsung, which overtook Nokia as the world's biggest handset maker in the first quarter, said momentum in the $219 billion smartphone market will continue with "remarkable" demand in emerging markets, helping mask a drop in chip profits.
"The biggest driver now is smartphones," Park Jong Min, a portfolio manager at ING Investment Management Korea, which oversees about $17 billion, said by phone Friday. "It will stay good in the second quarter as new models are released."
Samsung shares rose 2.5 percent to 1,374,000 won in Seoul, extending the gains this year to 30 percent. Apple has surged 50 percent in New York, compared with a 28 percent slump for Nokia in Helsinki trading.
Samsung's profit is the highest since the first quarter of 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.