JFE Holdings plans to ramp up overseas investments as part of a long-term drive to double profits, Japan's No. 2 steelmaker said on Tuesday, as it posted a 21.4% rise in annual net profit but also flagged a smaller increase for this year.

JFE President Yoshihisa Kitano, who took the helm on April 1, said he would accelerate the company's strategic shift from quantity to quality, but did not give a timeframe for doubling its business profits, other than saying it would take more than 3 to 5 years.

"Boosting overseas earnings is essential to our goal of doubling profits," he told a news conference, highlighting the business growth potential in North America, India, Indonesia and the Middle East.