Analysts from home and abroad are divided over the fourth-quarter earnings outlook of Samsung Electronics Co. for 2013, data showed Monday, with local brokerage houses suggesting relatively rosier estimates.
Samsung is expected to post an operating profit below the psychologically significant 10 trillion won ($9.47 billion) for the October-December period, due to multiple factors such as weak sales of smartphones and other one-off expenditures.
Market data showed while foreign analysts mostly estimate the South Korean tech giant will post an operating profit of around 8 trillion won for the fourth quarter, local brokerage houses say it will be beyond 9 trillion won.
Credit Suisse said in its report the South Korean tech giant is expected to post an operating income of mid-8 trillion won for the fourth quarter, dented by the volatility in the foreign exchange market.
BNP Paribas put out a similar view, saying Samsung's massive bonuses paid out in the fiscal 2013 will emerge as a burden for Samsung's fourth-quarter earnings. Its operating profit outlook came to 8.7 trillion won.
Hong Kong-based investment bank CLSA suggested 9.1 trillion won, citing the heightened competition with its rival Apple Inc. in the global market.
In contrast, South Korea's 12 brokerage houses, gauged earlier by market researcher FnGuide, forecast the figure at 9.4 trillion won on average, adding the cited concerns will only have a limited impact on its performance.
"Samsung Electronics' earnings will hover above 9 trillion won, as one-off spendings such as special bonuses do not fundamentally damage its competitiveness," said Kwak Hyun-soo, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.
Among local securities firms tallied, NH Investment & Securities gave the lowest outlook at 9.1 trillion won for the cited period, while Eugene Investment & Securities Co. posted the highest at 10.5 trillion won.
Analysts were also divided in the second quarter of 2013, when overseas brokerage houses suggested an operating income of mid-9 trillion won while local firms estimated figures of 10 trillion won or more. Samsung Electronics' operating profit for the April June period came to 9.5 trillion won.
The company is slated to announce its fourth-quarter guidance on Tuesday.