Samsung Electronics reported record quarterly profit and disclosed numbers showing that it's chip business pulls in more revenue than Intel.
Samsung's Board of Directors resolved to implement a 50:1 stock split as one of its measures to raise shareholder value. Once a general shareholders' meeting finalizes the stock split, current shareholders will receive 50 new shares a share, and new investors will be able to buy one share of Samsung Electronics, which is currently around 2.5 million won (US$2,250), for around 50,000 won (US$45).
The company said that there had been a slew of opinions that its high stock prices sap people's investment confidence so the company took such opinions into consideration and the stock split would empower more people to buy and hold Samsung Electronics stocks and receive dividends. New shares are expected to start trading in mid-May following a shareholder meeting, Samsung said in a conference call.
Samsung continues to churn out profits, as demand for memory chips, displays and semiconductors help to make up for less money earned abroad due to the country's rising currency.
Samsung's latest financial report showed that the company's net income rose to a record 12 trillion won ($11.2 billion) in the three months ended December.
Operating profit for the quarter was 15.15 trillion won on sales of 66 trillion won, Samsung said. The company said a higher Korean currency reduced profit by 660 billion won, and that it anticipates a "negative impact" from the fluctuations in the won and lower seasonal demand in the first three months of the year.
Operating profit from the chip division more than doubled from a year earlier to 10.9 trillion won. Its 2017 chip sales of $69 billion pushes the company past Intel, which reported 6 percent growth to $63 billion.
Samsung said it expected DRAM and NAND flash chip shipments to grow on-year by about 20 percent and 40 percent respectively in 2018. Samsung will expand 64-layer V-NAND production mainly at its Pyeongtaek plant. As for DRAM, the company expects solid demand growth due to new datacenter builds and will increase product competitiveness by expanding 10nm-class process migration.
The foundry business would jump from 4th place to be a "strong market No. 2" behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) in 2018, partly due to the cryptocurrency boom. Samsung will provide 8nm and 11nm processes to meet customers' needs and start a risk production of 7-nano. In addition, we will increase its mass production capabilities at the new S3 and S4 lines for various products including mobile processors and image sensors.
Samsung's mobile division had profit of 2.42 trillion won, selling 86 million phones in the fourth quarter. While Samsung remains the world's biggest smartphone maker, it has fallen out of the top 5 in China and is being challenged by Xiaomi in India. Samsung plans to debut its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9, next month, giving the iPhone X a new challenger. Samsung will also continue its efforts to differentiate its smartphones by adopting cutting-edge technologies, such as foldable OLED displays.
Operating profit from display products rose to 1.41 trillion won and consumer electronics reported 510 billion won in profit.
Samsung is suppling OLEDs to Apple for the iPhone X. KwonYoung Choi, the vice president of Samsung's display unit, brushed off reports that Apple will cut iPhone X production for the first three months of the year amid soft sales, saying the screen business was not dependent on any one client.
Samsung also resolved to allocate 50% of its cash flow in 2017 or 5.8 trillion won (US$5. billion) as dividends. The dividend amount swelled by 1 trillion won (US$800 million) from the original amount of 4.8 trillion won (US$4.3 billion). This is a year-on-year jump of 46%. 21,500 won (US$19.3) per common share and 21,550 won (US$19.4) per preferred share will be paid as dividends.
New chip tp support cryptocurrency mining rigs
Samsung is also stepping into the cryptocurrency mining business. The company condirmed to TechCrunc that it is now manufacturing ASIC chips suitable for mining rigs.
"Samsung's foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips," a company spokesman told the publication. "However we are unable to disclose further details regarding our customers."
The company, however, declined to offer further comment.
Korean local media reported earlier this month that Samsung completed the design for the ASIC chip in 2017 and began mass production in January.
Dedicated chips designed for cryptocurrency mining are more efficient than graphics cards.