Samsung, the world's largest maker of smartphones, has continued its record-breaking earnings streak thanks to a global boom in memory chips that resulted from a jump in mobile data traffic and rise of cloud computing, even as its de facto chief was sentenced to five years in prison on a conviction for bribery.
Samsung Electronics Co. reported another record high in quarterly earnings Tuesday as its semiconductor division posted its highest profit ever and tipped another record-breaking quarter is on the horizon, a breathtaking run for a company that is fighting to get its leader out of jail.
The company unveiled record third-quarter profit and promised to reward shareholders with $26 billion in payouts to 2020. It had not made any radical changes at the top since group chairman Lee Kun-Hee suffered a heart attack in 2014 that left him bedridden.
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Kim Kinam will lead Samsung's semiconductor and display businesses while Kim Hyunsuk will be the head of its consumer electronics division and Koh Dongjin, the head of the mobile business, Samsung said in a statement. Lee Sang-hoon will resign as chief financial officer and has been recommended as chairman of the board.
The retirement of CEOs Yoon and Shin and CFO Lee came after the announcement of Kwon Oh-hyun, CEO of the DS unit, that he would leave Samsung to make way for a younger team at the firm in March next year.
The 2017 Galaxy Note 7 recall - due to exploding batteries - also dealt the firm a crippling blow to its mobile business.
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Park Jung-hoon, a fund manager at HDC Asset Management which holds Samsung Electronics shares, said there had been "some concerns" that Kim would move to expand chip capacity and upset the now favourable supply-demand balance.
It said separately it would double its dividends in 2018, and confirmed a further share buyback for the fourth quarter.
And its investment in infrastructure, mostly on chip plants, will reach a whopping 46.2 trillion won just for this year, compared to 25.5 trillion won in 2016, it said. Such aggressive investment has stoked concerns that its increased supplies may drive down prices and eventually dent the firm's own profits in subsequent quarters.
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