(ATTN: UPDATES with more details, quote in paras 4-9)
SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- Big Hit Entertainment Co., the management agency behind global superstars BTS, said Tuesday its net profit rose 19 percent last year from the previous year amid the growing popularity of its flagship K-pop group.
Net profit stood at 86.2 billion won (US$77.6 million) in 2020 on a consolidated basis, compared with 72.4 billion won the previous year, the company said in a regulatory filing.
Annual operating profit jumped 44.2 percent on-year to 142.4 billion won, while sales rose 35.6 percent to 796.3 billion won over the cited period.
"Even with COVID-19, we were able to post our best-ever results thanks to our solid business structure," the company said in a press release. "Together with the continued growth of artists under Big Hit labels, our strategy is to keep expanding the scope of our business through inorganic growth methods, such as mergers and acquisitions."
Moreover, it said, Big Hit will continue to pursue growth by collaborating with outside partners, such as Universal Music Group.
The agency said its fourth quarter results in 2020 were also its best-ever for a quarter, posting 312.3 billion won in sales and 52.5 billion won in operating profit, an increase of 117 percent and 122 percent, respectively, from the same period in 2019.
The company attributed its stellar performance to strong album sales and growth in its business sectors.
Album sales in 2020 reached 13.22 million, led by BTS, Seventeen, Tomorrow X Together and Enhypen, it said.
In its business sectors, concert sales dropped due to COVID-19, but sales of official merchandise, content and fan club-related items grew by 53 percent, 71 percent and 66 percent, respectively, from 2019.
Big Hit has recently made an aggressive push beyond its focus as a management agency, going public on South Korea's main stock market KOSPI in October last year and clinching a deal with local tech giant Naver Corp. last month to combine their fan community and video streaming platforms.
Shares in Big Hit Entertainment closed 0.66 percent higher at 228,500 won on Tuesday, outperforming the broader KOSPI's 0.31 percent loss. The company announced its earnings after the market's close.