Samsung Electronics says its fourth-quarter profit rose 15 percent over a year earlier.

The South Korean company reported Friday that it had 6.1 trillion won ($5.1 billion) in operating profit for the October-December quarter.

Samsung was expected to report 6.6 trillion won in operating profit, according to financial data provider FactSet.

Sales stayed nearly flat at 53 trillion won ($44.3 billion), also slightly lower than expectations. It did not give net profit or other details.

The preliminary results showed that the company's annual profit dropped for a second time in three years.

Analysts have recently lowered their earnings forecasts on Samsung, citing weak global demand for personal computers and smartphones that hurt its semiconductor business.

Samsung's stock price closed at a three-month low in the previous session.