Our goals are to generate cash flow, raise capital efficiency and execute a financial policy for supporting sustainable growth while vigilantly controlling capital costs.
FY2020 ended with sales and profits lower than the previous year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic drastically changed our business environment, and in order for Duskin to fulfill its ultimate responsibility of maintaining the company's franchise network, the top priority has been ensuring the safety of our customers, franchisees and employees, even as we focus on getting sales back on track. Moreover, we prepared and executed a strategy that saw this changing business environment as an opportunity for new business growth. Most important in this regard were the courageous decisions of our company president; namely, to provide relief money to all franchisees and their employees, to install doors in all food showcases at cafeteria-type shops to ensure the safety of Mister Donut customers and to conduct an ad campaign at the Direct Selling Group to raise awareness about Duskin's commitment to creating a healthy environment for consumers and businesses. These measures taken amid an uncertain business climate had a noticeable impact on our financial performance, but as Chief Financial Officer I think they were necessary to ensure the survival of our franchise network.
The Medium-Term Management Policy 2018 entered its final year amid these circumstances and, unfortunately, concluded without meeting its targets due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, in addition to progress in our business foundation during this period, on the governance side we put in place the Operating Officer System in order to separate our execution and supervision functions and established the Investment Assessment Committee. In the area of human resource investment we initiated a succession plan and have also begun training next-generation management. We would have normally announced our next medium-term management plan, but given that the coronavirus pandemic has made the future even more uncertain, we will announce the next plan when circumstances permit.
As of March 31, 2021, Duskin had solid financial health, with total assets of 188.3 billion yen and an equity ratio of 77.2%. Generating both of profit that exceeds capital costs and cash flow enhances shareholder value, and in order to assess annual capital efficiency and return on investment (ROI), the Board of Directors discusses the direction of each business based on a business portfolio analysis. Furthermore, the Investment Assessment Committee, which I chair as CFO, has constructed an investment PDCA cycle and works to improve the performance of invested capital. We aim to achieve higher profitability and meet the expectations of our shareholders by increasing ROE to 5.0% at the earliest possible date, which we will achieve by establishing a new business foundation through growth investments, by making work processes more efficient, and by reducing costs.
Duskin's franchise network is a vital non-tangible asset. The network consists of franchisees and the franchisor, which are united by our unique management philosophy and share the same interests. Our business segment performance is highly correlated with general business trends, and this therefore requires operating capital, which also includes the cost of maintaining the franchise network, with sufficient reserves.
Over the next three years, we intend to actively invest in our company. Assuming current operating cash flow of around 13 billion yen, in a typical year about 10 billion yen is invested in already existing businesses. Along with the sale of cross-shareholdings and borrowing from financial institutions, for the time being, we will carry out growth investments. Any profits not allocated for these growth investments will, of course, be returned to our shareholders.
Moreover, as we focus on M&A and new business investment, we are investing in the digital transformation in order to enhance the customer experience and investing in human resource development. We also believe that from now on costs and investments related to our social contribution activities will be necessary. When we consider how Duskin can contribute to a sustainable society that seeks to implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is clear that what we do to enhance Duskin's corporate value in the long term can incur certain costs in the short term.
But achieving sustainability is important because it is an investment in our future, and we are therefore actively exploring the potential of very long-term investments that we have not done in the past.
Duskin's basic policy is returning profits to shareholders based on consolidated net income. Since FY2019, we have started determining dividends for each fiscal year based on a target consolidated payout ratio of 50%, and we intend to continue paying stable cash dividends. We are also taking a flexible approach to company stock buybacks from a total return ratio perspective.
Looking ahead, we intend to achieve a total shareholder return higher than the return on the TOPIX index and execute a growth strategy backed by a solid financial foundation while vigilantly controlling the cost of shareholders' equity.