SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) — CJ Cheiljedang Corp., South Korea’s leading food manufacturer, said Monday its net profit more than quadrupled last year from a year earlier, driven by strong overseas sales of its food and bio products and cost-cutting efforts.

Annual net income came to 831.3 billion won (US$742.2 million) in 2020, sharply up from a profit of 191 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Operating profit stood at 1.35 trillion won last year, up 51.6 percent on-year. Sales rose 8.5 percent to 24.24 trillion won over the cited period.

In the October-December period, the firm’s net income stood at 32.2 billion won, down 65.6 percent from a year ago. Operating profit increased 9.9 percent to 1.36 trillion won, and sales grew 3.2 percent to 6.15 trillion won.

CJ Cheiljedang attributed the earnings hike to steep growth in its global businesses, which now take up more than 60 percent of its total portfolio.

Last year, CJ Cheiljedang’s food sales jumped 12 percent on-year to 8.97 trillion won, mostly led by a 31 percent jump in overseas sales. Domestic sales stayed nearly flat over the cited period.

CJ Cheiljedang said its revenue from bio-related business also helped jack up its profits.

Bio sales stood at 2.98 trillion won, up 7.9 percent from a year ago. The business unit’s operating profit soared 34.2 percent to 312 billion won, achieving its first two-digit margin rate since 2012.

“Despite the increasing COVID-19 uncertainties, we were able to create new opportunities in the overseas territories,” CJ Cheiljedang said in a statement.