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Samsung Electronics says first-quarter operating profit up 12 percent vs year earlier

The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at the roof of a building in Kiev, Ukraine April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

SEOUL (Reuters) - Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS> said on Thursday its first-quarter operating profit rose 12 percent from a year earlier, buoyed by strong initial sales for its flagship Galaxy S7 smartphones.

Samsung, in a regulatory filing, said January-March operating profit was 6.7 trillion won ($5.84 billion), compared with its earlier estimate of 6.6 trillion won. Revenue rose 5.7 percent during the period to 49.8 trillion won, compared with its guidance for 49 trillion won.

The mobile division's profit rose to 3.9 trillion won from 2.7 trillion won a year earlier, surpassing the chips division as the firm's top earner for the first time in seven quarters. Chips division profits fell to 2.6 trillion won from 2.9 trillion won a year earlier.

(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Richard Pullin)