Message to Shareholders and Investors
I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for our shareholders and investors for the continued support that they have shown us over the years.
I would also like to express my heartfelt sympathies to all those who have been infected by the recent COVID-19 coronavirus. I sincerely hope that the pandemic ends as soon as possible.
During the 40th fiscal year, the Japanese economy continued to see a moderate recovery trend backed by improvements in corporate earnings and the employment and income environment. However, concerns over a spate of natural disasters and the future of overseas economies, including concerns surrounding the trade friction between the United States and China and Brexit have not yet been dispelled, and a cautious approach to the future of the domestic economy is necessary, given the consumption tax hike. In addition, there is the suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the fourth quarter, a situation that is becoming increasingly chaotic.
In this environment, the shortage of workers is becoming even more severe across a broad range of industries and jobs in the labor market in Japan, and following this, an increasing number of companies are working to improve productivity through the utilization of HR technology, work style reforms and the utilization of female and senior workers as well as foreign human resources. In addition, the further expansion of demand for nurses in most recent months also served as a strong spur for the QUICK Group, which engages in the human resources and information businesses.
As a result, in the 40th fiscal year, both sales and profits cleared initial forecasts and increased for the 10th consecutive year, and net sales and profits marked a record high. Associated with this, and regarding the return of profits to shareholders, the Company increased the year-end dividend by 1 yen from the initial forecast and 3 yen from the previous fiscal year, to an all-time high of 45 yen per share.
For the 41st fiscal year, the Company believes that the steady growth of the personnel placement business can be expected as it expands operations by specializing in nurses and other professionals. However, the handling of recruiting advertising in the Recruiting Business is normally susceptible to economic fluctuations because many companies increase or decrease their spending on recruiting advertisements, based on the economic situation. In particular, the job market has significantly shrunk following the declaration of a state of emergency due to COVID-19, and creating forecasts of our business performance is difficult at this time. Similarly, general advertisements in the Information Publishing Business have also begun to be affected.
Under these circumstances, we will make efforts to minimize the impact on our business performance by securing the jobs of Group employees and promoting investment in and the development of new business areas to grow businesses in Japan. At the same time, we will thoroughly take measures against COVID-19 and actively invest toward the post-coronavirus world.
As we pursue these initiatives, I ask for the continued support and encouragement of all of our shareholders and investors.