Samsung Electronics, South Korea’s tech behemoth, posted its highest revenue last year on solid global demand for semiconductors, the company said on Thursday.
Consolidated revenue gained 18.1 per cent over the year to reach a new high of 279.6 trillion won (232.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2021.
Operating profit soared 43.5 per cent to 51.63 trillion won (43 billion U.S. dollars) in 2021, marking the third-highest figure in the company’s history. Net income jumped 51.1 per cent to 39.91 trillion won (33.2 billion U.S. dollars).
The record revenue was driven by the semiconductor business. Revenue in the chip-making unit amounted to 94.16 trillion won (78.2 billion U.S. dollars) last year, accounting for one-third of the total.
Samsung’s fourth-quarter revenue also hit a quarterly high due to the expanded sale of premium smartphones, TVs and home appliances as well as the robust chip demand that offset the lower chip price.
Revenue advanced 24.4 per cent from a year earlier to 76.57 trillion won (63.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the three months ending Dec. 31.
Operating profit surged 53.3 per cent to 13.87 trillion won (11.5 billion U.S. dollars) in the October-December quarter, and net income spiked 64 per cent to 10.84 trillion won (9 billion U.S. dollars).
The semiconductor division recorded an operating profit of 8.84 trillion won (7.3 billion U.S. dollars) on revenue of 26.01 trillion won (21.6 billion U.S. dollars) in the fourth quarter.
Samsung said overall chip demand was strong in the fourth quarter despite a slight fall in average selling price and a continuation of global supply chain disruption.
The company expected server chip demand to grow this year thanks to the increased IT investment and new high-core central processing units (CPUs), saying that mobile chip demand may increase with the expanded 5G lineup.
The display panel business registered an operating profit of 1.32 trillion won (1.1 billion U.S. dollars) on revenue of 9.06 trillion won (7.5 billion U.S. dollars) in the fourth quarter.
Mobile panel earnings continued to improve in the quarter on solid demand for newly-launched smartphones, but large panel earnings widened losses on a lower price for liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.
Samsung forecast that robust demand for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels may continue this year based on rising 5G penetration and the growth of the foldable phone market.
The mobile phone and network business logged an operating profit of 2.66 trillion won (2.2 billion U.S. dollars) on revenue of 28.95 trillion won (24.1 billion U.S. dollars).
Overall market demand was driven in the fourth quarter by the strong year-end seasonality and the increased sale of premium smartphones, such as the foldable lineup and Galaxy S series, while the sales of PCs, tablets and wearable devices also contributed to the revenue growth, according to Samsung.
The tech giant noted that uncertainties would remain over the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and the component supply shortage, but it expected the market of smartphones and wearable devices to continue growing this year.
The consumer electronics unit logged an operating profit of 700 billion won (581.6 million U.S. dollars) on revenue of 15.35 trillion won (12.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the final quarter of last year.
Demand for TVs and home appliances increased in the fourth quarter due to year-end seasonality, but the growth slowed on the back of the fading effects of pent-up demand.
Samsung forecast that demand would rise this year for premium and super-large TVs, predicting a sluggish market for home appliances.
Samsung’s capital expenditure totalled 48.2 trillion won (40.1 billion U.S. dollars) in 2021, including 43.6 trillion won (36.2 billion U.S. dollars) for semiconductors and 2.6 trillion won (2.2 billion U.S dollars) for display panels.