SEOUL, April 29 (Yonhap) — Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday its first-quarter operating profit rose 3.43 percent compared with a year ago as robust demand for chips offset a slump in home appliance and display panel sales amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The world’s leading memory chip and smartphone manufacturer said its operating income stood at 6.4 trillion won (US$5.2 billion) in the January-March period, compared with 6.2 trillion won a year earlier.

Its sales rose 5.61 percent on-year to 55.3 trillion won in the first quarter, but net profit declined 3.15 percent to 4.8 trillion won over the cited period.

The figures were in line with the earnings guidance announced earlier this month that beat the market consensus.

Samsung’s solid performance was led by its semiconductor business as increased demand for server chips used for data centers and steady rise of memory chip prices helped the company stay afloat amid the novel coronavirus crisis.