May 22, 2014 12:06 am JST

Toyota tops in fiscal 2013 net profit; Sony the biggest loser

TOKYO -- Automakers, telecommunication companies and trading houses posted some of corporate Japan's biggest profits in fiscal 2013, which saw mobile carrier SoftBank Corp. surpass rival NTT Docomo Inc. for the first time.

     Toyota Motor Corp. leads a Nikkei Inc. ranking of companies by net profit, earning 1.82 trillion yen ($17.9 billion). That is roughly one-tenth of the total for listed companies with fiscal years ending March 31, excluding financial institutions and certain others.

     The automaker streamlined operations after skidding to a net loss in fiscal 2008, the year of the global financial crisis. A fitter Toyota enjoyed solid U.S. and Japanese sales and favorable exchange rates in fiscal 2013.

     Half of the top 20 businesses logged their best net profits ever. Besides Toyota, company records were set by SoftBank, Japan Tobacco Inc., mobile carrier KDDI Corp., trading houses Itochu Corp. and Marubeni Corp., autoparts maker Denso Corp., Central Japan Railway Co., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and Bridgestone Corp.

     Even as corporate earnings recovered broadly, manufacturers still trying to restructure their operations suffered big losses. Sony Corp.'s weighed in at more than 100 billion yen -- by far the largest in Nikkei's ranking of money-losing companies. Charges stemming from Sony's decision to end its personal computer business contributed to the dismal result. Mitsui Chemicals Inc. booked write-offs and other charges owing to the impending closure of its Kashima Works.

     The rankings cover listed companies with three straight years of comparable earnings statements, excluding financials and certain others.