The South Korean conglomerate reported operating profit rose nearly 60% to 12.35 trillion won ($10.9 billion) for the July-September quarter compared to the same period last year. Analysts polled by data provider Refinitiv had predicted 11.1 trillion won ($9.8 billion) in operating profit.
Samsung said sales for the third quarter rose about 6% to 67 trillion won ($59 billion). Analysts polled by Refinitiv had predicted 64.7 trillion won in sales ($57 billion).
The earnings report comes shortly after the death of Lee Kun-hee — the business titan who led Samsung’s rise from a modest South Korean company to a multinational conglomerate. Lee died on Sunday at the age of 78.
Lee’s son, Lee Jae-yong, has been the company’s de facto leader since his father’s heart attack in 2014. Asked earlier this week about whether the vice chairman would take his father’s title as chairman, Samsung declined to comment.
“While we assume JY Lee … will take the chairman’s role, we don’t expect a meaningful change in group ownership structure, management and business operation for Samsung in the short term given uncertainties from [an] ongoing trial issue and potential new regulation from the [South Korean] government,” analysts at brokerage firm Daiwa wrote in a note on Tuesday.
Despite the legal troubles, Daiwa analysts said they “expect JY Lee and top management to actively look for [merger and acquisition] opportunities to secure the company’s long-term earnings growth momentum” and enhance the company’s value beyond the era of chairman Lee.
— Jake Kwon and Yoonjung Seo contributed to this report.