Business / Corporate

Toyota chief promises shareholders profits despite pandemic


Toyota Motor Corp. CEO Akio Toyoda assured shareholders Thursday that the auto giant will stay in the black for the current business year even if the coronavirus crisis “exceeds the Lehman shock,” thanks to years of cost-cutting efforts.

“We can secure (operating) profit” in fiscal 2020, which runs through next March, Toyoda told shareholders during their annual general meeting at the carmaker’s headquarters in Aichi Prefecture. “Undoubtedly Toyota has become stronger,” he said.

Last month, the firm expected its group operating profit to fall nearly 80 percent from the previous year to ¥500 billion ($4.7 billion), the lowest in nine years. But it also said rigorous cost reductions would help ease the impact from the pandemic on global sales.

The automaker has refrained from cutting any jobs. Instead it says it will reduce costs by scrutinizing and improving every aspect of its business.

Around 360 shareholders took part in Thursday’s meeting, considerably fewer than the record 5,546 seen last year. The company had asked stakeholders to vote via the internet or by mail, and refrain from attending the gathering to prevent the spread of infection.

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