• Jiji


Itochu Corp. reaped the largest group net profit among seven major Japanese traders for the first time in five years in fiscal 2020, according to their earnings reports for the year released by Monday.

Many of the companies suffered drops in their net profits or incurred a net loss due in part to falling resource prices amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and sluggish earnings from convenience store operations.

Itochu posted a net profit of ¥401.4 billion in the latest reporting year although the figure was down 19.9% from the preceding year. The company managed to minimize the coronavirus impact on its nonresources and other businesses. FamilyMart Co., Itochu’s convenience store arm, fared poorly while the group’s chemical, information and financial operations were robust.

Net profit at Mitsubishi Corp., which topped the list in fiscal 2019, declined 67.8% to ¥172.5 billion, mainly due to an impairment loss of ¥83.6 billion linked to its convenience store unit, Lawson Inc. and a coronavirus blow to its automotive and metal businesses.

Sumitomo Corp. suffered its largest-ever net loss of ¥153 billion, with the pandemic forcing its nickel mine operations in Madagascar to shutter. Sojitz Corp.’s net profit plunged 55.6% to ¥27 billion reflecting sluggish automobile, metal and resource operations.

Mitsui & Co. saw its net profit fall 14.3% to ¥335.4 billion, due mainly to a loss from its coal mine operations in Mozambique. The profit fall was relatively small thanks to a rise in iron ore prices.

Toyota Tsusho Corp. earned ¥134.6 billion in net profit, down only 0.7% year on year, on the back of a recovery in automobile sales.

Aided by robust agricultural and food businesses, Marubeni Corp. enjoyed a net profit of ¥225.3 billion, in a turnaround from the preceding year’s record net loss of ¥197.4 billion.

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