Trial of Samsung heir focuses on father-to-son succession

Samsung tips 48 percent jump in 1Q profit

The company's stock is trading near historic highs, despite Lee's troubles and the scrapping a year ago of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone due to fire-prone batteries.

The company projects operating profit of about 9.9 trillion Korean won in the first-quarter, compared to 6.68 trillion won reported previous year.

The figure was nearly near to the company's biggest-ever operating profit of 10.16 trillion won tallied in the third quarter of 2013. Several leaders of prominent chaebols, or family-run companies like Samsung in South Korea, have faced similar situations, including Lee's father, Lee Kun-hee.

The past year has been a tough one for Samsung overall, from the Note7 exploding battery debacle to the arrest of its vice-chairman Jay Y Lee over bribery allegations. Expectations for the second-quarter profit are running high on the release of its new flagship smartphone Galaxy S8.

That overshadowed Samsung reporting quarterly profit of almost $9 billion - its highest in more than three years - and the start of pre-orders in South Korea for its newest flagship smartphone.

At the hearing, Lee's legal representative said Lee paid the foundations after the "president's request to promote cultural prosperity and sport development", denying that he expected any favors in return.

Ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye (C) leaves the prosecutors' office in a auto as she is transferred to a detention center, in Seoul, South Korea, March 31, 2017.

Samsung did not announce the performance of each business division.

Samsung's earnings are believed to have been led by robust demand for semiconductors, especially used for new smartphones manufactured by rival companies.

Sales of OLED display panels for mobile devices would also remain strong, keeping Samsung's bottom line solid, they said.

Samsung will deliver the official results later this month. The company also beat market consensus of a profit around 587.3 billion won on sales of 14.4 trillion won. Last week, it presented and began taking preorders for its Galaxy S8, its first major smartphone launch since the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.

LG Electronics' first-quarter operating profit was estimated at $537 million, up 20.6 per cent from a year earlier.

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