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Samsung announces cause of Galaxy Note 7 fires

The world's biggest smartphone maker Samsung on Monday announced the cause of fires that led to last year's humiliating recall of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 device and blamed faulty batteries.

Samsung Electronics had to discontinue the smartphone, originally intended to compete with Apple's iPhone, after a chaotic recall that saw replacement devices also catching fire.

The Galaxy Note 7 debacle cost the South Korean company billions in lost profit and damage to reputation, while the company was also embroiled in a corruption scandal that has resulted in President Park Geun-Hye's impeachment.

Internal and independent investigations "concluded that batteries were found to be the cause of the Galaxy Note 7 incidents", Samsung said in a statement.

"We sincerely apologise for the discomfort and concern we have caused to our customers," Koh Dong-Jin, the head of its mobile business, told reporters in Seoul.

Samsung announced a recall of 2.5 million units of the oversized Galaxy Note 7 in September 2016 after several devices exploded or caught fire, with the company blaming batteries from a supplier, widely believed to be its sister firm Samsung SDI.

When replacement phones - with batteries from another firm, largely thought to be Chinese manufacturer ATL - also started to combust, the company eventually decided to kill off the Galaxy Note 7 for good.