Samsung Display achieved a record-high operating profit last year. Despite the downstream market recession in the IT industry, the supply of organic light emitting diode (OLED) for high-end smartphones increased, raising profitability.

Last year, Samsung Display achieved sales of 34.38 trillion KRW and an operating profit of 5.95 trillion KRW. This achievement is an increase of 8.4% and 33.4%, respectively, compared to the previous year. In the fourth quarter of last year, they recorded sales of 9.31 trillion KRW and an operating profit of 1.82 trillion KRW. Samsung Display achieved record-high profits in last year's annual and fourth quarters.

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<Samsung Display exhibiting QD at CES 2022 (Photo = Samsung Display)>

Apple's iPhone largely drove the increase in earnings, as this is Samsung Display's primary customer apart from Samsung Electronics. Despite stagnant smartphone market growth, demand for iPhone remained relatively solid. Samsung Electronics' smartphone sales shrank, but sales of foldable smartphones, which are more expensive than existing panels, increased significantly and led to earnings growth.

In particular, it is interpreted that the expansion of Apple's iPhone 14 Pro series panel supply played a role as a ‘Devoted son’. The Pro models are equipped with a low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) OLED panel, which is a high-value product. Samsung Display took over a significant amount of Apple's iPhone 14 Pro products this year. The industry believes that Samsung Display supplied more than 70% of the panels for the iPhone Pro. The fact that they reduced the deficit through the liquidation of the liquid crystal display (LCD) business also contributed to the strong performance.

The first half of this year is expected to be affected by the global economic recession. The company expects earnings to decline from the previous quarter and the previous year due to continued weakness in smartphone demand due to the economic slowdown in major regions. Samsung Display said, “We will try to minimize the (negative) impact by actively responding to the launch of major customer flagships. We will secure additional demand by introducing new QD-OLED products for ultra-large TV and large monitors.”

Reporter Sora Park (