News Feb 02, 2021 07:25 PM EST

Amazon Announces Q4 Earnings, 2020 Full Year Performance, and a New CEO for 2021

By Erika Dee

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Addresses Economic Club Of New York
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Addresses Economic Club Of New York (Drew Angerer/Getty Images), Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has announced its financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2020 and a change in leadership. 

Amazon's Tremendous Performance for 2020

According to the company, it's operating cash flow has increased tremendously by 72%, totaling $66.1 billion for the trailing 12 months. A year-on-year comparison would show that the figures only reached $38.5 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2019.

At the same time, Amazon's free cash flow increased to $31.0 billion for the trailing twelve months. The figure on December 31, 2019 reached only  $25.8 billion. 

Free cash flow, even minus principal payments of finance leases as well as other financial obligations, still shows a positive movement. It increased to $20.3 billion for the trailing 12 months. The figure for the trailing 12 months ended December 31, 2019, was only $16.2 billion.  

Free cash flow, even with equipment finance leases and principal repayments of all other finance leases as well as financial obligations, increased to $21.4 billion from $12.5 billion. 

Common shaers outstanding plus shares underlying stock-based awards reached as high as 518 million, from just 512 million. Overall. the company has performed outstandingly during the pandemic year.

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Amazon's Q4 Earnings

Amazon's fourth quarter for year 2020 is quite impressive in particular, as reported by Business Wire

Net sales increased 44%. Amazon's net sales reached $125.6 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to just $87.4 billion in fourth quarter 2019. If the  $1.7 billion favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter would be removed to get a more accurate picture of the company's sales performance, net sales still increased 42% compared with fourth quarter 2019.

Operating income also increased almost 50%. It reaches $6.9 billion in this quarter of 2020, compared with operating income of $3.9 billion in fourth quarter 2019.

Net income increased to $7.2 billion in the fourth quarter, or $14.09 per diluted share. The Q4 2019 figures only reached $3.3 billion, or $6.47 per diluted share. 

Net sales, operating income and net income for the full year 2020, also increased. Net sales for the full year increased by 38% to $386.1 billion (from $280.5 billion), operating income increased to $22.9 billion (from $14.5 billion), and net income to $21.3 billion (from $11.6 billion).

Bye Jeff Bezos as CEO

Apart from the positive performance of the company, Amazon also announced that Andy Jassy will be taking on on the role of the Chief Executive Officer, while Jeff Bezos will transition to the role of Executive Chair in the third quarter of 2021. 

"Amazon is what it is because of invention. We do crazy things together and then make them normal. We pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalized recommendations, Prime's insanely-fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, Career Choice, and much more," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.

"If you do it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. That yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive. When you look at our financial results, what you're actually seeing are the long-run cumulative results of invention. Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition," he added.

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