Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. chalked up a consolidated net profit of 18.67 billion yen in the business year that ended in December, up sharply from the previous year’s 2.61 billion yen.

Despite overall weak demand for fuel products, higher crude oil prices and increased price-cutting competition, Showa Shell posted the profit gain due in part to favorable changes in its product lineup and the effect of inventory evaluation, the major oil distributor said Tuesday.

In the previous year, Showa Shell incurred a sharp profit decline because of one-time charges to cover reserve shortages for retirement allowances resulting from the adoption of new accounting rules.

The Tokyo-based company reported a consolidated pretax profit of 40.1 billion yen for the reporting year, up 38 percent, on a 2.7 percent drop in group sales to 1.620 trillion yen.

For the current fiscal year, Showa Shell is forecasting a consolidated net profit of 16 billion yen and a pretax profit of 30 billion yen on group sales of 1.650 trillion yen.

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