By Joyce Lee
SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Friday its third-quarter operating profit likely nearly tripled from a year earlier to a new record, beating analyst estimates, as strong memory chip prices fattened margins.
The Apple Inc smartphone rival and global memory chip leader said third-quarter operating profit was likely 14.5 trillion won ($12.81 billion), compared with the 14.3 trillion won average of 20 analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.
Revenue likely rose 29.7 percent from a year earlier to 62 trillion won, versus the analysts' average forecast of 62.1 trillion won.
Samsung shares were trading at a new record high of 2.74 million won as of Thursday, as investors bet on record earnings in 2017 driven by growing demand for memory chips with ever greater processing power.
Brisk sales of the latest Galaxy Note 8 smartphone, launched in mid-September, further helped lift its mobile profit as it recovered from last year's costly withdrawal of the fire-prone Note 7, analysts said.
Samsung did not elaborate on its July-September performance and will disclose detailed results at the end of October. Analysts have tipped its chip division to propel the firm to record overall profit.
Strong global demand for DRAM chips will continue to outpace supply in 2018 as new plants from Samsung and No. 2 memory chip maker SK Hynix are not expected to operate until 2019, while demand for NAND flash chips exceeded supply for six straight quarters as of last month, DRAMeXchange, a division of data provider TrendForce, said.
Growing sales of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) smartphone screens for new Apple smartphones also have supported forecasts of a new earnings record in the fourth quarter.
Pre-orders for the Note 8 hit the highest-ever for the Note series, Samsung previously said.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates)