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March 20, 2010

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Samsung forecasts dominant year ahead

SAMSUNG Electronics predicted a strong 2010 as economic expansion in advanced and large developing economies gains speed and said it is aiming for double-digit sales growth from last year's record high.

The world's largest manufacturer of flat screen televisions and second-biggest seller of mobile phones held its annual shareholders meeting yesterday, where it also reveled in its status as a force in world business.

"Our financial standing is on a global level," Samsung President and CEO Choi Gee-sung told shareholders. "We have become a world class company."

Over the past decade Samsung has become one of the world's top technology companies in both consumer electronics and the key components that go into them.

The South Korean company is also the world's largest manufacturer of computer memory chips and liquid crystal displays. It ranks behind Finland's Nokia Corp in mobile phones.

Choi said that the global economy was likely to build on momentum from the second half of last year when it benefited from government stimulus measures put in place to bolster growth following the 2008 financial crisis.

"In particular, the advanced economies such as the US and EU are likely to see a plus, or a positive, growth and the newly emerging countries, including BRICS, will accelerate their growth rate," he said, referring to China, Brazil, Russia and India.

Regarding sales, Choi said that Samsung will adjust to what he called exchange rate "uncertainties" by working to reduce costs and gain further "market dominance," an apparent reference to increasing market share.

"We hope to see a two-digit growth compared with year 2009" sales, he said, referring to percentage change.

Samsung racked up record sales of 136.29 trillion won (US$120.48 billion) in 2009 on a consolidated basis -- which includes the performance of its overseas and domestic subsidiaries, excluding financial businesses.

Samsung shares rose 0.9 percent yesterday to close at 804,000 won. The price, which rose 77 percent last year, has gained 0.6 percent this year.

Choi promised Samsung will push hard this year.

"We will engage in aggressive and active business activities and enhance our competitiveness," he said.


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