Japanese trading houses have been enjoying their best profits in several years, driven by a rally in commodities from coking coal and base metals to oil and natural gas as well as stronger earnings in non-resource businesses.
Mitsubishi's results follow record earnings reported last week by its peer Itochu Corp. Mitsui & Co Ltd, Sumitomo Corp and Marubeni Corp also booked growth in annual profits on Tuesday.
Net profit for Mitsubishi, Japan's largest trading house by assets, for the year through March 31 came to 560.17 billion yen ($5.1 billion), beating its own estimate of 540 billion yen and a mean estimate of 546.54 billion yen among nine analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The result surpassed its previous highest profit of 471.3 billion yen, reached in the year to March, 2008.
"We have fully capitalised on a rally in commodities," Mitsubishi Corp's Chief Financial Officer Kazuyuki Masu told a news conference, pointing to higher prices in coking coal, iron ore and copper.
Australian premium coking coal futures in Singapore had risen nearly 40 percent to around $218 a tonne by the end of March from about $157 a year earlier. They have since eased to around $187 a tonne.
Strong auto sales in Asia, where the company operates auto dealers, and solid performance in the firm's liquefied natural gas (LNG) business also supported profits, Masu added.
For the year that started in April, Mitsubishi forecast its net profit would grow 7 percent to a fresh record of 600 billion yen, above a mean estimate of 568.18 billion yen from nine analysts.
To reflect healthy earnings, Mitsubishi increased its annual dividend for the year ended March 31 to 110 yen per share from 80 yen a year earlier, while forecasting 115 yen for this year.
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi and Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Joseph Radford)
By Yuka Obayashi