Japanese PM companies report full year results
May 20, 2015
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) recently reported that automobile production in Japan was down by 3.2% to 9.560 million units in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015. The small decline follows four years of production gains. Vehicle exports totalled 4.491 million units in fiscal 2014/2015, also down (-3.1%) on the previous year.
However, even with more than 90% of Japan’s PM production sold to the automotive sector, the slight downturn in vehicle output and exports does not appear to have deterred four of Japan’s major PM companies from reporting positive trends in their full year fiscal results.
Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd
Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd (SEI) based in Itami, Osaka, Japan, reported group sales of Yen 2,822 billion ($23.4 billion) to end of March 2015, an increase of 9.8% compared with the previous fiscal year. Group net income was up 79.4% to Yen 119,771 million ($994.4 million).
The largest SEI division is ‘Automotive’ and this division, which specialises in wiring harnesses, reported full year sales of Yen 1,488 billion ($12.3 billion), an increase of 10.1%. SEI’s ‘Industrial Materials & Others’ division is the third largest after the ‘Automotive’ and ‘Environment and Energy’ divisions, and includes the production of cemented carbides (hardmetals), PM parts, and PM magnets, plus W, Mo, heavy metal, thermal management materials, ceramics, diamond tools and hardmetals produced at the fully owned A.L.M.T. subsidiary.
The ‘Industrial Materials & Others’ division saw full year sales increase 4.6% to Yen 317.3 billion ($2.64 billion). Hardmetals (cemented carbides) sales increased by 9.4% to Yen 90 billion ($753 million) over the full year. Sales of Powder Metallurgy products rose by 15.5% to Yen 58.1 billion ($482.4 million) whilst sales at A.L.M.T. rose by 12.1% to Yen 48 billion ($398.5 million). SEI is forecasting sales of Yen 350 billion ($2.906 billion) for the Industrial Materials division in fiscal 2015/2016.
Hitachi Chemicals Co Ltd
Hitachi Chemicals Co Ltd, which includes two main business segments (1) Functional Materials and (2) Advanced Components and Systems, reported group sales up by 8.1% to Yen 533.9 billion ($4.484 billion) for the full year ended March 31, 2015 with net income down by 12.5% to Yen 21.1 billion ($175 million).
The Advanced Components & Systems division which includes structural PM parts and PM bearings as well as vehicle batteries, printed circuit boards and diagnostic instruments, reported an 11.2% increase in sales to Yen 258 billion ($2.143 billion). Segment profit was up 5.6% to Yen 3.5 billion.
Mitsubishi Materials Corp
Mitsubishi Materials Corp (MMC) reported an increase of 7.2% in its consolidated group net sales of Yen 1,517,265 billion ($12.6 billion) for fiscal 2014/2015. Net income increased by 6.8% to Yen 56 billion ($465 million). The company attributed the positive results to implementing a variety of measures to improve global competitiveness, and establishing new overseas bases, especially in Asia. However, MMC’s ‘Advanced Materials & Tools division’ (AM&T), which includes cemented carbide (hardmetal) tools, structural PM parts and bearings, high performance alloy products and superalloys, reported 7.7% lower annual sales at Yen 134.6 billion ($1.117 billion).
Sales of PM products and cemented carbides for the automotive sector remained favourable in the year, notably in North America. This division will benefit from the recent acquisition of a 51% shareholding in Hitachi Metals Ltd’s cemented carbide business – Hitachi Tool Engineering – with sales from the new subsidiary Mitsubishi Hitachi Tool Engineering Ltd to be included in the AM&T division with effect from April 1, 2015.
Fine Sinter Co Ltd
Fine Sinter Co Ltd, based in Kasugai, Aichi Pref., operates two business segments which include (1) powder metallurgy (PM) products based on structural PM parts and metal injection moulding; friction materials (for railway applications), and (2) hydraulic equipment such as motor pumps, solenoid valves, etc.
Automotive PM products make up around 87% of sales; railroad applications 3.9%, hydraulic equipment 7.1% and industrial machinery 2.2%. Fine Sinter Ltd reported a modest increase in annual sales for year ending March 31, 2015, up by 2.8% to Yen 37.8 billion ($314.1 million). Net income at Fine Sinter decreased from Yen 717 million ($5.95 million) in 2013/2014 to Yen 549 million ($4.55 million) in the current year
The company operates six production plants in Japan, China and Indonesia and is involved in a joint venture with another Japanese PM producer – Tokyo Sintered Metals Ltd – for producing PM parts in the USA at American Fine Sinter (AFS) in Tiffin, Ohio