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Samsung announces estimated $40B in revenue, $5B in profit for Q1 2012

Samsung released an estimate for its first quarter 2012 earnings on Friday, revealing record profit of $5.1 billion from $39.8 billion in sales.

The South Korean electronics maker noted that domestic disclosure regulations would not allow it to provide range estimates for earnings, so it provided the median of its ranges, which came to 5.8 trillion won ($5.1 billion) for operating profit and 45 trillion won ($39.8 billion).

Based on Korean International Financial Reporting Standards, the sales range was from 44 to 46 trillion won and the operating profit range was from 5.6 to 6.0 trillion won. A consensus forecast by Thomson Reuters had estimated 5 trillion won in operating profit on projected shipments of 44 million smartphones.

According to the estimates, Samsung's first quarter 2012 profit jumped up almost 100 percent year over year, while revenue increased by 20 percent.

Hana Daetoo analyst Lee Ka-keun told Reuters that sales of the Galaxy Note tablet/phone hybrid had helped Samsung set the new record.

"Higher-than-expected shipments of the Galaxy Note seem to have given an upside to earnings," said Lee. "Note sales will increase further in the second quarter, and handset profit will grow despite a rise in marketing costs related to the London Olympics."

Some analysts expect Samsung's smartphone business to have brought in roughly two thirds of the company's profits last quarter.

Looking ahead, the company is expected to enter even fiercer competition with Apple when it releases an update to its Galaxy S handset.

"Samsung and Apple are expected to launch the new Galaxy S and iPhone in the second quarter, respectively, and they will engage in a full-fledged war," said Lee.

Though some reports have claimed Apple could release its 2012 iPhone as early as June, the majority of sources believe it is more likely to arrive in the fall.

Apple and Samsung have traded spots at the top of the list of global smartphone makers in recent quarters. In the third quarter of 2011, Samsung was estimated to have beat out Apple in terms of smartphone shipment volume, but release of the iPhone 4S put Apple back on top in the fourth quarter.

Competition between the two companies has extended into the courtroom. Apple and Samsung are both actively engaged in multiple legal complaints against each other across numerous countries. Recent developments in the patent battle include favorable term definitions for Apple in its original U.S. lawsuit against Samsung and the sending of source code from Qualcomm and Intel to lawyers in Australia for use in Apple's defense against infringement claims from Samsung.