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Samsung: Handset sales make for best 4th quarter yet

The consumer electronics giant says the quarter's revenue will be in the range of $39.6 billion to $41.3 billion--a record. Profit looks like it'll be stellar, too.


Samsung ended 2011 on a financial high note, the company announced today.

The tech giant released its fourth-quarter earnings guidance today, saying that it expects to have generated revenue of between 46 trillion and 48 trillion Korean won ($39.6 billion to $41.3 billion) and an operating profit of between 5 trillion and 5.4 trillion Korean won. Both figures represent a new high mark for the company's financials and easily outpace the 2010 fourth quarter, which saw Samsung generate 41.9 trillion won in revenue and a 3 trillion won profit.

For all of 2011, Samsung estimates that it made 16.2 trillion won on 164.7 trillion won in revenue.

For its part, Samsung didn't say why its earnings were so high during the fourth quarter, but analyst Lee Ka-keun of Hana Daetoo Securities told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published today that the success was due mainly to exceedingly strong smartphone sales, which could have reached as high as 35 million units. Last year, Samsung instituted a new policy that bans the company from announcing handset sales estimates prior to an earnings report.

Even before the fourth quarter was over, Samsung had a banner year in the mobile market. Last month, the company announced that it had reached 300 million handset sales at the end of November, making it the company's biggest year yet for mobile device sales. If the company kept up its torrid pace of 820,000 handsets sold each day, it's possible its total sales on the year hit 325 million phones.

Samsung sees an even stronger 2012 heading its way. A couple weeks ago, Korea Economic Daily reported, citing Samsung sources, that the company expects to sell 374 million handsets this year, putting it within striking distance of Nokia, the world's largest handset maker.

"Samsung's ascendancy to the leadership position is the direct result of its broad and deep product portfolio," Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team, said in a statement in November. "Ever since the first Galaxy device launched last year, the company has aggressively expanded and refreshed its selection to include the latest innovations and most popular features."

But it hasn't always been so fun for Samsung. Just yesterday, the company issued a statement, expressing disappointment over an Italian court's decision to strike down its claim that Apple's iPhone 4S violates patents it holds and should therefore be banned from sale in the country.

"We are disappointed with today's decision by the Milan court regarding Samsung's preliminary injunction motion," Samsung said in a statement to CNET. "We will review the ruling and consider all available measures to further protect our intellectual property rights and stop this free riding on our technology."

Samsung has faced similar troubles making its case across other parts of Europe, the U.S., and Australia. So far, however, it hasn't been dealt a significant blow to drastically affect sales.