Four of Japan’s leading PM producers recently published their full year financial results (April 1, 2102 to March 31, 2013).
Mitsubishi Materials Corp (MMC) reported a slow down in overall group sales due to the un-favourable Yen exchange rate to the end of 2012 and the downward trend in copper prices. Orders for core products for the automotive and electronic sectors were also said to have been sluggish. As a result consolidated net sales for the fiscal year to March 31, 2013 were down 10.7% to Yen 1,287,251 billion ($13.6 billion) with the largest drop coming from the Metals Division (-18.2%). This division produces copper, gold and other metals, and makes up over 50% of total sales. Operating profit increased year-on-year 0.4% to Yen 52,500 million.
MMC’s ‘Advanced Materials & Tools’ division, which includes Diamet Corp, Mitsubishi Materials Tools Co., Ltd. and MMC Superalloy Corp, reported sales down by 5.2% to Yen 136,653 billion ($1.445 billion), or 10.6% of group sales.
Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI) reported an increase of 4.8% in group sales to Yen 2,159,942 billion ($22.9 billion), but a 35% drop in group net income to Yen 38 billion ($403 million).
The ‘Industrial Materials & Others’ division at Sumitomo Electric includes the production of cemented carbides (hardmetals), PM parts, and the fully owned A.L.M.T. subsidiary which produces W, Mo, heavy metal, thermal management materials, ceramics, diamond tools and hardmetals. The division reported a 5.3% drop in sales for the 2012/2013 financial year to Yen 272,524 million $(2.89 billion), but forecasts a 10% rise in division sales in the current financial year ending March 2014 to Yen 300,000 million. Sales of structural PM parts increased by 14.5% to Yen 44.7 billion ($474 million) in the last financial year, whilst hardmetals sales increased by 3% to Yen 70 billion ($742.6 million).
Hitachi Chemicals reported that sales in its ‘Functional Materials’ and ‘Advanced Components & Systems’ divisions were down by 2% in the full year to March 31, 2013 at Yen 464,655 billion ($4.93 billion). The Advanced Components division includes PM parts, bearings and sintered friction materials produced in Japan, Thailand, China and North America, plus plastic moulded parts, vehicle and industrial batteries and printed circuit boards. Sales of this division totalled Yen 219,498 billion ($2.33 billion) – a decline of 4% on the previous financial year.
The company stated that sales of friction materials increased in the financial year just ended, but that sales of PM products remained almost the same compared with the previous fiscal year. This was attributed to the decline in PM parts for the automotive sector in China, in spite of an increase in the sales of variable valve timing mechanisms in North America.
Fine Sinter Co Ltd reported an increase in full year sales to March 31, 2013 of $366.7 million compared with $353.6 million in 2011/2012. However, the company saw its bottom line decline from $22.7 million in 2011/12 to $12.9 million in the year to 2013.