By Timonthy W. Martin
SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. reported a 57% decline in first-quarter net profit, as the technology giant wrestles with a postponed rollout of its foldable-screen phone and endures ongoing pain from a memory-market fall.
The world's largest smartphone and memory chips maker delayed the release last week of its Galaxy Fold handset, a potential game-changing product the company hoped would spark a sales turnaround for its struggling mobile division. Meanwhile, a pullback in global spending has sapped demand for its memory chips, with a pronounced fall off from data-server clients.
Samsung's results are a proxy for the global economy because of its dual role as one of the world's biggest hardware makers and a major supplier of electronics companies--including to rivals such as Apple Inc., which buys displays and chips from the South Korean company.
On Tuesday, Samsung said it notched a first-quarter net profit of 5.04 trillion South Korean won ($4.4 billion), a decline from 11.69 trillion won a year earlier. The Suwon, South Korea-based company's revenue slid to 52.39 trillion won, down from 60.56 trillion won a year ago.
Samsung's results compared with analysts' estimates predicting net profit of 4.9 trillion won and revenue of 52 trillion won for the quarter that ended March 31, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The company's net profit ranked as its lowest since the third quarter of 2016, when the South Korean technology giant issued a costly global recall of Galaxy Note 7 handsets due to batteries that overheated.
Write to Timothy Martin at Timothy.Martin@WSJ.com