Samsung's 4Q earnings drop 27 percent but profit still beats forecasts

Samsung Electronics Co. says its quarterly earnings dropped 27 percent in the fourth quarter but its result beat forecasts.

The world's top smartphone maker reported Thursday that its October-December earnings were 5.3 trillion won ($4.9 billion), compared with 7.3 trillion won a year earlier.

Samsung's quarterly net income has dropped over a year earlier for four straight quarters. Still, the bottom line was a modest recovery from the previous quarter's 4.2 trillion won and higher than analysts' forecasts of 4.4 trillion won, according to financial data provider FactSet.

Sales fell 11 percent to 52.7 trillion won from a year earlier while operating profit slumped 36 percent to 5.3 trillion won.

The Korean company's mobile business began to struggle this year while Apple enjoyed record-high sales of bigger iPhones.