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Samsung turns in record quarterly profit

South Korean electronics giant says its net profits rose 82 percent in the first quarter on the strength of smartphone sales.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest consumer electronics maker, reported a record quarterly profit Friday on the strength of its smartphones.

The South Korea-based company said net profits rose 82 percent to a record 5.05 trillion won, or about $4.45 billion, for the fiscal first quarter ending March 31, compared with 2.78 trillion won a year earlier. Samsung also recorded record quarterly operating profits of $5.85 trillion won, in line with earlier guidance provided by the company.

"We cautiously expect our earnings momentum to continue going forward, as competitiveness in our major businesses is enhanced," Robert Yi, head of investor relations at Samsung, said in a statement.

Samsung's handset division accounted for 73 percent of the company's total profit, bringing in 4.27 trillion won, triple over the year-ago period. The division's operating profit margin jumped to 18.4 percent from 11 percent a year ago on the back of strong sales of the Galaxy S and Note smartphones. Analysts estimate Samsung sold 90 million handsets, including 44 million smartphones.

Profits from the company's TV and home appliances business skyrocketed to 530 billion won from 80 billion a year ago. However, semiconductor profits plummeted 54 percent to 760 billion won compared to last year.