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Samsung Aims to Improve Phone Sales While Maintaining Profits in Holiday Quarter

The company also plans to buy back up to $10 billion in stock over the next year.

The Verge

As part of its earnings release on Thursday, Korean electronics giant Samsung said it hopes to see its fourth-quarter cellphone sales rise while also preserving profit margins.

Separately, the company said it plans to buy back up to $10 billion in stock in one year, as it looks to return 30 percent to 50 percent of its free cash flow to shareholders over the next three years. The first phase, targeting more than $3 billion in buybacks, will start this week and last for around three months.

On the tablet side, the company said to expect a modest increase in sales, which isn’t saying a lot since the fourth quarter is typically the strongest quarter for tablets.

The company did say overall profit for the company should decline from the third quarter as Samsung gets less of a boost from foreign exchange rates.

As for that third quarter, the company said it saw revenue that was up 6 percent from the prior quarter, largely thanks to its chip and display businesses. Operating profit also increased, though much of the gains there came from the currency impact of a weaker Korean won compared to other major currencies.

Samsung reported it earned 7.39 trillion Korean won ($6.4 billion) on revenue of 51.68 trillion won ($45.2 billion). Those figures were higher than the consensus estimate of several analysts compiled by the Wall Street Journal.

The company said its phone business showed “a significant increase” in sales in the third quarter, amid higher shipments of its Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ phablets. However, the price cuts made to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge meant profits were down for the prior quarter.

Samsung said it hoped fourth-quarter phone unit profits will at least match those of the third quarter.

For 2016, Samsung said it expects its smartphone growth rate to slow compared to prior years. However, the company said it hopes to strengthen its high-end product line and expand Samsung Pay globally to boost its position competitively.

Update: The story was changed after the company clarified that the $10 billion buyback would happen over the course of one year and not three years.

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