LG Electronics Inc. said Friday its first-quarter operating profit is estimated at 922 billion won ($812.3 million), a market forecast-beating figure, apparently helped by robust sales of premium electronics coupled with reduced losses from the smartphone business. The surge is expected to be led by record profits from Samsung's chip division, estimated at around 5.8 trillion Korean won.
"As long as Lee is locked up, it won't be easy for Samsung to restore its reputation completely", Koo Chang-hwan, chief of the Korea Reputation Center, said before Friday's hearing began.
Song said Samsung was unaware of Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, until after the scandal over their relationship and allegations of influence-peddling surfaced late previous year.
In recent weeks, the Korean tech giant unveiled its new flagship smartphone: the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Analysts also said Samsung was likely to continue benefiting from the strong global demand for memory chips, especially NAND flash memory chips used for long-term data storage, throughout this year.
The bribes are suspected of being given to Choi in return for getting support in the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates, which is seen as extremely crucial to the younger Lee to inherit Samsung's management control from his ailing father.
North Korean ballistic missile launch condemned by UN Security Council
However Reuters subsequently reported that White House officials determined the missile was a liquid-fuel scud . President Donald Trump in Florida, where North Korea is expected to be a prime topic of discussions.
Clad in a white shirt and grey suit, Lee, himself the vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics, was mostly expressionless.
That would be its best quarterly profit in nearly four years and shows a recovery from the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.
"In the second quarter, Samsung's operating profit is expected to hit an all-time-high of 12 trillion won", he said.
"Generally speaking I think the improved product mix in appliances and televisions and the company's efforts to sell high-end products lifted profits", HI Investment analyst Song Eun-jeong said. They will deliver a detailed and finalized report later this month.
Some advantages include the sale of smaller Samsung affiliates, converting Samsung's life-insurance unit into a financial holdings company and the public offering in 2016 of its biologic-drugs unit.
In its Q1 earnings guidance, Samsung is predicting an operating profit of around 9.9trn won ($8.7bn) out of 50trn won ($44bn) in revenues.