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Samsung profit down on slowing smartphone sales

Samsung profit down on slowing smartphone sales
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Samsung has posted its first quarterly profit decline in two years ..

The world’s biggest smartphone maker suffered slowing sales of those handsets due to strong competition from Apple’s new iPhones during the year-end holiday period in the United States and Japan.

Operating profit at Samsung’s crucial mobile phone division dropped 18 percent from the previous quarter.

Other factors were the payment of a one-off special bonus to its staff and the strength of the Korean currency – the won.

To appease investors Samsung almost doubled its full-year dividend to shareholders.

“Our goal on dividend payout for this year is to have that significantly increase from 2013, but I can’t say for sure how much we’ll be paying,” Robert Yi, head of Samsung’s investor relations, said.

The company has been reluctant to change its payout policy largely because of a need to build funds to secure future growth.

Samsung’s smartphone market share will be challenged this year as Apple starts selling iPhones via China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier in terms of subscribers.

Apple is also widely expected to release iPhones with big-screens, a key feature of Samsung’s Galaxy range.