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Samsung posts record $5.9 bln profit on smartphones

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co (005930.KS), the world's top technology firm by revenue, reported a record quarterly profit of $5.9 billion on Friday, as rampant sales of its smartphones more than offset a tumble in memory chip prices.

The South Korean firm reported April-June operating profit of 6.72 trillion Korean won, in line with its earlier estimate of 6.7 trillion won and up 79 percent from a year ago.

Samsung, which earlier this year ended Nokia's (NOK1V.HE) 14-year reign as the top global handset maker, did not break out its second-quarter smartphone shipments. But analysts said they expected it to have further widened its gap with Nokia and Apple.

Apple shipped 26 million iPhones in the June quarter, fewer than in the previous quarter and well below the 28-29 million that Wall Street had predicted. Samsung is estimated to have increased sales to around 50 million.

Samsung also competes with Sony Corp (6758.T) and LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS) in TVs, Toshiba Corp (6502.T) and SK Hynix Semiconductor Inc (000660.KS) in chips and LG Display (034220.KS) in displays.

Shares in Samsung, the world's top TV maker, have climbed 9 percent so far this year, versus a 3 percent drop in the wider market.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by John Mair)