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Samsung Chief Braces For Tougher Competition in 2012

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest maker of televisions and memory chips, is bracing for tougher competition amid low industry-wide growth as it seeks to cement leadership in its main businesses.

“The electronics industry will enter a low-growth period,” Samsung Chief Executive Officer Choi Gee Sung said during the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Seoul today. “Reorganization of the industry will gain speed and competition among global players will intensify.”

The electronics maker posted record revenue last year, helped by the popularity of its Galaxy smartphones. In 2012, Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung will continue to enhance its competitiveness in hardware, while strengthening new businesses including medical equipment, Choi said.

Samsung plans capital expenditure of 25 trillion won ($22.2 billion) this year, including 15 trillion won in the chip business and 6.6 trillion won in the panel business, as it seeks to widen its lead over rivals.

Shareholders today approved the company’s plan to spin off its liquid-crystal-display division on April 1. Choi said Samsung is reviewing merging the business with the Samsung Mobile Display venture that makes organic light-emitting diodes, or OLED, screens. Samsung’s LCD business had an operating loss of 750 billion won last year as global TV sales slowed.

Samsung shares rose 0.6 percent to 1,257,000 won at 11:45 a.m. in Seoul. The stock has advanced 19 percent this year compared with the 12 percent gain in the benchmark Kospi index.

Samsung, locked in legal disputes with Apple Inc., will be more aggressive in securing patents, Choi said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jun Yang in Seoul at jyang180@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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