South Korea's Samsung Electronics said on Friday it expected a sharp increase in first-quarter operating profit to 8.7 trillion won ($7.7 billion), up 52.9% from the first three months of 2012.
Samsung, the world's largest technology firm by revenue, was giving earnings guidance before official results are made available later in April.
The January-March operating estimate comes after a record quarterly operating profit of 8.8 trillion posted in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Samsung profits soared in 2012, largely on the back of sales in the lucrative smartphone market.
Sales in the first quarter of 2013 were expected to reach 52 trillion won, up 14.9% from a year earlier, but down 7.2% from the previous quarter.
While Samsung overtook Nokia Corp. as the world's largest mobile-phone maker and Apple Inc. in smartphones last year, Apple was twice as profitable as Samsung in terms of gross profit margin, analysts say.
Mobile devices generate the bulk of profits at both companies. Analysts say an increased presence in the high-end market will be crucial for Samsung in maintaining margins for its mobile business amid stiff competition.
"Samsung still lags behind Apple in the high-end market," which is where the money is, Lee Sun-Tae, a Seoul-based analyst with NH Investment and Securities told Dow Jones Newswires.