Mitsubishi Motors today posted an 89% drop in annual operating profit for its weakest performance in three years and skipped the year-end dividend, as the Covid-19 outbreak added to the Japanese car maker's profitability woes. 

Profit came in at 12.8 billion yen ($119.21m) for the year ended in March, down sharply from 111.8 billion yen a year ago.

But it still exceeded a consensus estimate of 9.4 billion yen profit drawn from 15 analysts polled by Refinitiv. 

Mitsubishi, one of Japan's smaller automakers, declined to give an earnings forecast for the current business year, as it waits to get a better view of the longer term impact of the coronavirus on its operations and sales. 

It did not issue a year-end dividend, compared with 10 yen per share a year ago. 

Car makers are struggling to navigate around Covid-19, which has pummeled car sales due to severe restrictions on people's movements in many countries, while plant workers had been left unable to commute to work. 

Though Mitsubishi and its rivals have begun to restart vehicle factories, anemic demand, supply chain disruption and social distancing measures at factories are expected to limit output in the coming months. 

The automaker, a junior member of the automaking partnership between Nissan and France's Renault, sold 1.13 million vehicles globally in the year ended March, down 9% from the previous year.

The virus exacerbated Mitsubishi's struggles in a year in which the automaker was already contending with falling sales in China and in southeast Asia, a key market, which had knocked profitability since April. 

The alliance is expected to announce a revamped strategy later this month under which it will pledge to increase cooperation to drastically improve their joint operations to remain competitive in the fast-changing global auto industry.