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Samsung posts record $7.4B profit on strong Galaxy sales

South Korean electronics giant reports that its Galaxy line contributed half its revenue for the quarter, which nearly doubled over the same period last year.

The Galaxy S3 helped Samsung dial up record quarterly profits. Josh Miller/CNET

South Korea's Samsung Electronics reported on Friday (local time) a record quarterly profit of $7.4 billion, crediting strong sales of its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets with making up for weak chip demand.

The electronics giant said its third-quarter operating profit increased 91 percent to $7.39 billion, in line with guidance offered earlier this month. Revenue for the quarter ended September 30 was 52.18 trillion won ($47.5 billion), a 26 percent increase over the same period last year.

The company's Mobile Communications division accounted for half that figure, logging 26.25 trillion won ($23.9 billion) in revenue. Samsung singled out the Galaxy S3 as a key component in raising profit margins. The company said sales of LTE-enabled devices increased in the third quarter but that competition hurt profit margins.

Samsung doesn't disclose its smartphone sales figures, but analysts believe the company sold about 60 million smartphones during the quarter. By comparison, Apple, which hours earlier reported profits of $8.2 billion on revenue of $36 billion, sold 26.9 million iPhones during the same period.

Its display panel business swung back to profitability with an operating profit of 1.09 trillion won ($1 billion), a 19 percent increase over the same period last year. However, profit from Samsung's chip division fell 28 percent to 1.15 trillion won on weak demand for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips.

The company trumpeted another record quarter despite facing tough economic conditions.

"The business environment remained difficult with global economic uncertainties persisting amid the fiscal concerns in the U.S. and Europe," Robert Yi, Samsung's chief of Investor Relations, said in a statement. "However, we continued to break our quarterly profit records."