SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) — South Korean battery maker Samsung SDI Co. said Thursday it turned to the black in the fourth quarter, backed by strong sales of electric vehicle (EV) battery products.

Its net profit reached 341.9 billion won (US$306.6 million) in the October-December period, shifting from a net loss of 33.1 billion a year earlier, the affiliate of Samsung Electronics Co. said in a regulatory filing.

The operating profit skyrocketed to 246.2 billion won in the fourth quarter, up from 20.1 billion won a year ago, when it was hard hit by one-off costs related to energy storage systems (ESS).

The firm said its revenue rose 15.3 percent to 3.3 trillion won in the last quarter, marking record-high quarterly sales.

“The EV battery business continued to post sharp growth as Europe expanded subsidies for eco-friendly cars in the latter half (of 2020),” the company said in a statement. “Sales of ESS increased thanks to big projects in North America.”

For the whole of 2020, net profit jumped 56.8 percent on-year to 631 billion won, and operating profit soared 45.3 percent to 671.3 trillion won.

Its annual sales rose 11.9 percent to 11.3 trillion won in 2020, surpassing 11 trillion won for the first time, the company said.

Looking ahead, Samsung SDI expected increased revenue from the EV battery and ESS market amid the tightening environmental regulations in major countries, including the United States and Europe.

It also projected an upbeat outlook for small-sized batteries and materials for semiconductor and OLED screens in line with robust demand for IT products.

Samsung SDI Co.’s battery production line in Cheonan, 92 kilometers south of Seoul, is shown in this photo provided by the company on May 13, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)