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Samsung Electronics to talk strategy with investors, skeptics

Models pose with Samsung Electronics' Ultra HD LCD televisions during World IT show 2013 at the Coex convention centre in Seoul May 22, 2013
Models pose with Samsung Electronics' Ultra HD LCD televisions during World IT show 2013 at the Coex convention centre in Seoul May 22, 2013

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean consumer electronics titan Samsung is planning a strategic conference with investors of a scale not seen since eight years ago to fight a gnawing suspicion that its heyday may have come and gone.

Samsung Electronics, which undershot analysts' earnings estimates in April-to-June in a rare miss, said on Wednesday that it would meet with 400 investors and analysts in Seoul on November 6 to talk about its longer-term growth strategy.

Samsung's dominance in the high-end smartphone segment has driven a series of record profits in recent years and helped it trump arch rival Apple Inc. But analysts say the segment may have passed its peak this year as the market saturates and competition from cheaper phones intensifies.

Shares in Asia's most valuable technology firm, which depends on mobile devices for two-thirds of its profit, have fallen 13 percent over the past three months. That compares with a 3 percent drop in the domestic stock market.

Samsung's stock has been hit by weaker-than-expected sales of the Galaxy S4 smartphone, analyst downgrades, and investor concerns that its battle to maintain its supremacy in the high-end mobile segment may further squeeze margins.

"It's been a while since we last communicated our longer-term business plan, and this year's event is largely aimed at discussing our latest strategy and vision for 2020," a Samsung executive said, declining to be identified as details of the plan have yet to be made public.

In 2009, Samsung said it would target revenue of $400 billion by 2020 and become one of the world's top 10 brands by then. The firm, which also makes computer memory chips, flat screens, televisions and home appliances, earned 201 trillion won ($183.1 billion) in 2012.

The November event, the first of its kind under new Chief Financial Officer Lee Sang-hoon, also comes as Samsung Group seeks new vistas of revenue.

Some new businesses, including a unit that makes solar cells and another that produces medical equipment, have yet to yield any tangible results since they were unveiled in 2010.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Ryan Woo)

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