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Samsung reports its first quarterly loss

SAMSUNG Electronics Co, the world's largest maker of memory chips, liquid-crystal displays and televisions, reported its first quarterly loss as the global recession deepened and drove down prices.

The fourth-quarter net loss was 22.2 billion won (US$16 million), down from a 2.21-trillion-won profit a year ago, the South Korean company said yesterday. Excluding a 660-billion-won tax credit, the operating loss was 937.1 billion won, more than double the deficit projected in a Bloomberg News survey.

The shares fell as earnings at Samsung's three main divisions missed analyst estimates, highlighting the slump in demand for electronics that forced Sony Co to project its first annual loss in 14 years.

Samsung's losses will probably widen this quarter as demand fails to rebound, according to projections at Citigroup Inc and UBS AG.

"It's an earnings shock," said Lee Jin Woo, a fund manager at Seoul-based KTB Asset Management Co.

"While Samsung's flagship chips and panels are among the most cyclical industries, today's earnings confirm how bad things are in the industries."

Samsung fell 4.1 percent to close at 442,000 won in Seoul, dragging down South Korea's Kospi index by 2.1 percent.

Samsung sales rose 5.6 percent to 18.45 trillion won, missing the estimate by almost 10 percent.


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