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Samsung Electronics reports record third-quarter as chip profit hits three-year high

The company logo is displayed at the Samsung news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's quarterly operating profit matched estimates with a 26 percent rise to a new record, powered by a strong recovery in its memory chip business as smartphone sales growth eases sharply.

The world's top smartphone vendor said July-September operating profit rose to 10.2 trillion won ($9.6 billion), in line with its estimate.

Profits at its chip business doubled to 2.06 trillion won, its highest in three years.

The mobile division, Samsung's biggest earnings generator, reported a record 6.7 trillion won profit as a greater variety of cheaper Galaxy smartphones boosted shipment volumes and helped counter weakening growth in the lucrative high-end segment. ($1 = 1061.0500 Korean won)

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Stephen Coates and Richard Pullin)