Toyota’s full-year financial results were a mixed bag for 2019 with operating profit inching up 2.8% due to improved sales, tighter cost controls and lower incentives in the U.S. market.
Operating profit increased to $21.66 billion, or 2.40 trillion yen, in the automaker’s fiscal full year ended March 31, Toyota said on Wednesday. However, the money hitting the Japanese automaker’s bottom line fell 25% to $16.96 billion, or 1.88 trillion yen.
The hits to the bottom line were driven lower by special losses on equity securities that compared against robust results the year before that were artificially inflated by a windfall U.S. income tax gain. Toyota’s revenue increased 2.9% to $272.78 billion, or 30.23 trillion yen.
The company’s cost-cutting measures were a driving force behind the profits this quarter, Honda officials said during the earnings press conference.
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“Under the banner of restrengthening TPS and refining costs, we are working to thoroughly eliminate ‘waste, unevenness, and overburden,’ not only at our production plants, but also at our offices, at our technical workplaces, and elsewhere,” said Toyota Chief Akio Toyoda during the event.
However, executives said that the company didn’t reach its targets for cost reductions this year, and what was accomplished didn’t offset the costs of improving their products. As a result, the company will continue to look for further ways to cut costs, even if that means changing its choice of stationery and pencils, they said.
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The cuts will not come at the expense of research and development thought as the automaker raised capital and R&D expenditure forecasts for the next fiscal year.
Toyota’s profits also took a hit in the U.S., currently its largest market. Toyota’s sales in the U.S. fell farther than the competition last month: 4.4% versus the overall market’s 1.7%. Some analysts are suggesting to offset the problem of rising inventories, Toyota may have to put cash on the hood.
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Despite the negatives, Toyota became the first publicly traded Japanese company to report annual sales of more than 30 trillion yen ($272 billion) and unveiled plans to buy back as much as 300 billion yen of its shares, the stock failed to erase losses and closed down about 1% in Tokyo trading.