Samsung Electronics forecasts jump in quarterly profit

image captionThe success of Galaxy range of handsets has helped Samsung offset falls in other units

Samsung Electronics has forecast a 53% jump in profit for the first three months of the year, boosted mainly by growing smartphone sales.

It expects to make an operating profit of 8.7tn won ($7.7bn; £5bn) for the period, up from 5.7tn won a year ago.

Samsung has enjoyed massive success with its Galaxy range of smartphones and displaced Apple as the world's biggest smartphone maker last year.

Analysts expect its profits to rise further in the coming months.

They have forecast robust sales for Samsung's latest smartphone model, the Galaxy S4, which is set to hit the stores later this month.

The smartphone, launched earlier this year, allows users to control its screen using only their eyes and has the ability to take two different pictures at once.

Analysts widely regard the phone to be a serious competitor to Apple's iPhone5.

"We expect some 22 million Galaxy S4 smartphones to be sold in the second quarter alone," said Seo Won-seok, an analyst with Korea Investment & Securities.

Mr Seo said that he expected Samsung's earnings to hit the 10tn won mark in the April to June quarter, boosted by GalaxyS4 sales as well as improving conditions in the memory chip market.

Samsung, which is also the world's biggest maker of memory chips, will release it final quarterly results on 26 April.

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