Samsung Electronics plans IPO in US by 2002

Samsung Electronics is determined to be a leader in the convergence of telecoms, media and technology by building both its brand and its financial presence globally.

Samsung Electronics - Korea's largest electronics maker - said it plans an initial public offering of its shares in the US late next year or in 2002 as it seeks to achieve a global financial presence to match its internationally recognized brand name. The company has formed a task force to examine whether to apply to the technology-heavy Nasdaq exchange or to the main New York Stock Exchange. It wants to ensure it is in compliance with all listing requirements and other corporate governance obligations before applying to either.

"We have to be sure everything is perfect," says Young Taeg-Park, Samsung's general manager. "But in order for us to be a global company financially, it's inevitable for us to seek an international listing."

(???Need more here on why it needs to list, what form the listing will take in terms of size and product, which investment bank might do it etc. Its probably primarily for acquisition purposes, as well as some branding isues. They dont really need the cash at the moment???)

Samsung, which makes semiconductors, telecommunications equipment, personal computers and consumer electronics, reported sales of KRW26.1 trillion ($22.8 billion) in 1999, up from KRW20.1 million in 1998. Net profit rose to KRW3.2 trillion from KRW0.3 trillion in 1998 as it reaped the benefit of a reorganization.

The company is also benefiting from increased demand for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips as rising internet use boosts PC sales. Young Taeg-Park says the company expects the PC market to grow by 20% this year. It expects the market for DRAMs to rise to $25 billion in 2002 from an expected $25.3 billion in 2000 (???these figures dont add up???). "I'm confident that shortages of DRAMs will happen starting in the second half of this year," Taeg-Park says. "Our inventory levels are running at less than a week."

Still, the company is moving to reduce its dependence on the volatile DRAM market, which rises and falls along with the underlying economy. It plans to expand its production of its larger capacity flash memory chips for portable electronic devices such as hand-held personal computers.

Taeg-Park says the company will develop new DRAMs based on technology from US-based Rambus and a rival technology known as double data rate (DDR) until it becomes clear which will emerge as the industry standard. He says that while Samsung supports Rambus it wants to remain "flexible" for the time being.