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Samsung's first-quarter operating profit soars, posts highest results since 2013

The results also underscore how the electronics conglomerate is recovering from last year's Note 7 crisis, when some smartphones burst into flames and forced Samsung to pull it from shelves.

The debacle cost the company billions of dollars in lost profits and hammered its global reputation and credibility.

Lee Jae-yong, known professionally as Jay Y. Lee, has been accused of paying former president Park Geun-hye and her associate some 43 billion won (approximately $49.54 million Canadian) in bribes in order to maximize his control of the Samsung empire.

Both Samsung and LG, meanwhile, are anticipated to post healthier performances for the second quarter, helped by the full-fledged sales of their respective flagship smartphones. The current record was set in the third quarter of 2013, when Samsung's operating profit hit 10.1 trillion won. And the company's shares have risen about 16 percent this year, about three times the gain in the benchmark KOSPI.

Samsung's sales alone make up a fifth of South Korea's GDP, and for many young Korean graduates getting a job in a chaebol is the most desirable outcome after years of toiling through a rigorous education system.

South Korea's top automaker Hyundai Motor also shed 2.36 percent Friday. LG has further expanded its presence in the TV market with its two premium TV lineups including its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs and SUPER UHD TVs with Nano Cell display. "This is better than expected", Greg Roh, an analyst with HMC Investment Securities told AFP.

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For the whole of this year, operating profits would be a record 47 trillion won, he said. Samsung is expected to have posted a sound operating profit from its chipmaking business, which may have reached a whopping 6 trillion won.

Semiconductor chips were estimated to have brought in about six trillion won in profits amid strong chip prices, he said. Previously, the smartphone business was the company's main contributor.

Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., appeared at the Seoul Central District Court, along with four other senior company executives, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Revenue for the quarter likely rose 9.7 percent to 14.7 trillion won, the firm said.

The smartphone was unveiled last week and is due to go on sale next month.

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