Seoul - Samsung Electronics said on Tuesday its first-quarter net profit rose 5.9 percent from a year ago to 7.57 trillion won ($7.3 billion), while operating profit declined for a second straight quarter.

The South Korean electronics giant posted operating profit of 8.49 trillion won - down 3.3 percent from a year ago, following a 6.0 percent decline in the fourth quarter.

Sales for January to March inched up 1.53 percent to 53.7 trillion won, the company said in a statement.

The company - the world's top maker of smartphones and mobile phones in general - has been hit by slowing growth in smartphone sales in lucrative markets such as the United States and Europe.

The mobile business unit - which accounts for the lion's share of the overall sales - posted an operating profit of 6.43 trillion won - down 1.2 percent from the previous year.

Global demand for both smartphones and tablet computers “decreased” in the first quarter, it said. - Sapa-AFP