SEOUL, South Korea -- Samsung said its operating profit last quarter rose 53 percent over a year earlier, outpacing expectations for what's normally a slow time for consumer electronics sales.
The South Korean firm on Friday estimated its first quarter operating income at 8.7 trillion won, or $7.7 billion. The preliminary result is a 2 percent decline from the previous quarter when the operating income stood at a record high.
Samsung said its first quarter revenue grew 15 percent from a year earlier to 52 trillion won.
Its first-quarter profit was higher than market expectations, and analysts said Samsung benefited from smartphone sales and shortages in memory chips for personal computers.
Counterpoint Technology Market Research said last month that it expected Samsung's smartphone sales to top 70 million during the first three months of this year, further expanding its share in the global smartphone market. The market research firm estimated Apple's (AAPL) iPhone sales to reach 35 million during the same period.
Samsung's semiconductor business likely benefited from the shortages in memory chips used in personal computers, which spiked prices of Samsung's key products. Global chip makers have reduced production of PC memory chips to increase chip supplies for mobile devices.
Samsung is the world's largest maker of smartphones, memory chips, televisions and flat screen panels.
Samsung's full results including net profit and breakdown figures for each division will be released later this month.