Japanese chemicals show signs of recovery


The Japanese chemicals sector is showing signs of recovery, owing to reconstruction demand in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, as well as the government’s bold new monetary and spending policies.

The turnaround has been attributed to an increase in foreign exports driven by a weaker Yen and more public spending.  Mitsui Chemicals and Tokuyama both managed to absorb increased raw material and fuel costs by improving sales of high-value-added products. Both companies returned from net loss in the first half of last year to positive figures in 2013.

Sumitomo Chemical performed the biggest recovery, from a net loss of ¥13 billion (£83 million) for the fiscal first half last year, to a net profit of ¥12.5 billion this year – largely driven by a sales increase of 9.3% to ¥1.05 trillion. Asahi Kasei, Mitsubishi Chemical, Tosoh and Kuraray also saw increased net profits.

Against almost flat sales relative to the first half of last year, Ube saw a 21.4% drop in net profit to ¥6.6 billion (£41.6 million). The fall is partially attributed to caprolactam market competition from new Chinese facilities and patents expiring for some of its pharmaceutical products. The company has engaged measures to solve various operational tasks and regain growth but these have yet to deliver results.

Showa Denko was even less fortunate – reporting a 40% fall in net profit to ¥6.7 billion, despite a massive increase in petrochemicals sales. Decreased profits in its electronics business and a higher income tax bill contributed to the loss.

 


Related Content

Business roundup

28 July 2011 Business

news image

Industry news, August 2011

Explosive end for Japan's second world war chemical weapons

9 June 2014 News and Analysis

news image

Bombs and mortars abandoned by retreating Japanese troops in China are finally being destroyed

Most Read

Quintuple bond activates small stable molecules

19 September 2014 Research

news image

Exotic complexes suggest route to synthetic feedstock

Computer simulations point to formamide as prebiotic intermediate in ‘Miller’ mixtures

16 September 2014 News and Analysis

news image

Electric field may have provided more than just energy for primordial chemistry

Most Commented

US genomics lead being lost to China

17 September 2014 News and Analysis

news image

NIH senior leaders are sounding the alarm bells, saying the US's pre-eminence in genomics research is under threat

The trouble with boycotts

29 August 2014 Critical Point

news image

Cutting academic ties with a censured state can do more harm than good, says Mark Peplow