Japanese Powder Metallurgy companies have reported positive results for the fiscal half year ended September 30, 2017. The country has benefited from a recent recovery in the Asian economy with China, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan itself showing growth in consumer spending and capital expenditure.
As a result, the demand for products used in the Japanese automotive sector and electronics industry remained strong. Four of the leading Japanese PM companies recently published their fiscal half-year results, which show considerable improvement compared with results reported during the same period in 2016.
Mitsubishi Materials Corp.
Mitsubishi Materials Corp. (MMC) reported group sales up 20.3% year-on-year for the six months to September 30, reaching Yen 725,450 billion ($6.393 billion) and an operating profit up 33.5% to Yen 39,530 billion ($348 million).
Sales in the group’s Advanced Materials & Tools division – which includes cemented carbide (hardmetal) tools, structural PM parts and PM bearings, high-performance alloy products and superalloys – increased by 7.1% to Yen 78.3 billion ($689.9 million) and operating profit was up 2.1% to Yen 8.6 billion.
The company stated that a combination of aggressive marketing and higher demand in Japan, Europe, USA and Southeast Asia saw increases in sales for cemented carbides, and sintered PM products also benefitted thanks to the launch of new products and increased sales.
Sumitomo Electric Industries Co Ltd
Sumitomo Electric Industries Co Ltd (SEI), Itami, Osaka, also reported a buoyant six month period to the end of September 2017, with an 11.2% increase in group sales to Yen 1,459 billion ($12.856 billion) compared with the same period in 2016. Group operating income increased by 39.6% to Yen 65.7 billion ($578.9 million).
SEI’s Industrial Materials & Others division is the third largest after its Automotive and Environment & Energy divisions and incorporates the production of cemented carbides (hardmetals), PM parts and bearings, PM magnets, plus W, Mo, heavy metal, thermal management materials, ceramics, plus diamond tools and hardmetals produced at the wholly owned A.L.M.T. subsidiary. The division saw a 23% increase in sales in the first six months to Yen 176.4 billion ($1.554 billion) compared with the same period last year.
Hardmetals (cemented carbide) sales grew by 14.6% to Yen 46.9 billion ($413 million). Sintered PM products increased by 32.6% to Yen 37 billion ($326 million), whilst sales at A.L.M.T. increased by 5.8% to Yen 20 billion ($176 million). SEI forecasts full-year sales for its Industrial Materials & Others division to increase by 11.8%.
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 for the six months to September 30 up by 24% to Yen 319.9 billion ($2.819 billion) compared with the same period last year. However, operating income was down 2% to Yen 19.7 billion.
The Advanced Components & Systems division, which includes sintered friction products, structural PM parts and PM bearings as well vehicle batteries, printed circuit boards and diagnostic instruments, reported a 36% increase in sales to Yen 171,182 billion ($1.508 billion) but showed a loss of Yen 4.931 billion ($43.4 million) for the period.
The substantial increase in sales was attributed to the launching of new projects. Hitachi Chemicals has revised its full-year (April 2017-March 2018) sales to increase to Yen 670 billion ($5.9 billion) – a rise of 21% year-on-year.
Fine Sinter Co Ltd
Fine Sinter Co Ltd, Kasugai, Aichi Pref., manufactures a wide range of Powder Metallurgy components for automotive applications, railroad vehicles and compact hydraulic equipment. Automotive products make up nearly 90% of the company’s sales.
The company reported that sales for the fiscal half year 2017/2018 were grew by 1.9% to Yen 18.77 billion ($165.3 million), compared with the same period the previous year. The company saw net income for the six months grow by Yen 43.8% to Yen 548 million ($4.825 million).
In addition to manufacturing facilities in Japan, Fine Sinter has manufacturing subsidiaries in USA, China, Thailand and Indonesia.