Tokyo 2020 marketing agency Dentsu has recorded a net loss for 2020 which is almost double that recorded in 2019 ©Getty Images

Dentsu, the Tokyo 2020 marketing agency, has drawn a line under a difficult 2020 by reporting a net loss of JPY159.6 billion (£1.1 billion/$1.5 billion/€1.25 billion), almost double the loss of JPY80.9 billion (£550 million/$760 million/€630 million) for 2019.

The company, which recently served notice of a 12.5 per cent headcount cut across Dentsu International at an estimated cost of £640 million ($890 million/€735 million), suffered a 10 per cent year-on-year revenue decline to JPY939.2 billion (£6.4 billion/$8.9 billion/€7.3 billion).

The operating loss widened significantly from JPY3.4 billion (£23 million/$32 million/€26.5 million) in 2019 to JPY140.6 billion (£955 million/$1.3 billion/€1.1 billion) in the fiscal year just ended.

Japanese media reported the latest net loss as a record.

The group, which is the world’s fifth-largest advertising company, said its current short-term outlook remained "highly dependent on the variable macro outlook."

Toshihiro Yamamoto, President and chief executive, said 2020 was "a challenging year for society, for our clients, our business and of course, our people."

Dentsu's President and chief executive Toshihiro Yamamoto described 2020 as a "challenging year for the organisation" ©Dentsu
Dentsu's President and chief executive Toshihiro Yamamoto described 2020 as a "challenging year for the organisation" ©Dentsu

He went on: "With 95 of the world’s top 100 advertisers already our clients, our opportunity as a group is to deepen our existing client relationships.

"The long-term effect of the pandemic will be to further boost digital use and innovation across the world," Yamamoto predicted.

"This fits precisely with our competitive advantage as one of the very few integrated global communication, data and marketing innovators."

Dentsu must have expected to spend the latter part of 2020 basking in the reflected glory of its role in a domestic sponsorship programme for Tokyo 2020 that has rewritten the record books for Olympic marketing.

Instead, the coronavirus pandemic forced the mega-event’s postponement.

It remains to be seen whether, and if so under what configuration and conditions, the Olympic Games will be able to go ahead this July and August, as now planned.