Japan’s leading PM companies show mixed Q1 results: Fine Sinter, Hitachi Chemicals, Mitsubishi Materials Corp, Nippon Piston Ring, Sumitomo Electric Group

September 5, 2012

September 5, 2012

Japan’s leading PM companies and conglomerates have reported mixed results for the first quarter (April 1 to June 30) of the financial year 2012/2013.

A surge in global vehicle production has helped increase sales in a number of companies, but the earthquake and tsunami in North East Japan in March 2011, and also the severe flooding in Thailand later that year, continues to impact others.

Fine Sinter Co., Ltd.

Fine Sinter Co., Ltd., one of Japan’s leading PM producers, reported that year-on-year sales to March 31, 2012, shrank by around 3% to Yen 33.65 billion ($424 million) but with net income increasing by 67% to Yen 2.138 billion ($27.2 million).

For the 1st quarter (to end June 2012) the company stated that it had achieved sales of Yen 9,097 billion ($115.5 million) with net income of Yen 473 million. Sales have continued their upward trend over the past four quarters following the disruption caused by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.


Hitachi Chemicals Ltd.

Hitachi Chemicals Ltd reported a small (0.2%) decrease in 1st quarter 2012/2013 group sales to Yen 117,981 billion ($1.499 billion) but a much sharper decline (27%) in profits, which fell to Yen 6,782 billion ($86.176 million). The company states that this reflects the substantial damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami and the repairs needed at production facilities.

The ‘Advanced Components and Systems’ segment of Hitachi Chemicals includes Automotive Products (structural PM and MIM parts, PM bearings, friction materials, and plastic moulded products), Energy Storage Devices and Systems (vehicle batteries, capacitors) and Electronic Components (printed wiring boards). This segment achieved 1st quarter sales of Yen 55,209 billion ($701.5 million), an increase of 7.3% over the same period in 2011/2012.

Sales of PM products were up thanks to the recovery in car production, and sales of friction materials also recovered following the transfer of production to new sites due to the closure of the original friction materials operation located close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Hitachi Chemicals states that first half sales to September 30, 2012 and fiscal year end March 31, 2013, are expected to exceed the forecasts previously announced. The company is forecasting half year sales of Yen 245,000 billion ($3.1 billion) by the end of September 2013.

Hitachi Chemicals has PM manufacturing locations in the U.S.A., Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia (operation started in February 2012), and India (to commence operation in April 2013). The company recently announced that Hitachi Powdered Metals (Dongguan) Co., Ltd. (HPMD), is to expand production capacity through construction of a new factory at its existing site in Guangdong, China


Mitsubishi Materials Corp. (MMC)

Despite the gradual recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and the robust recovery in demand for automobile related products, the drop in copper prices and stagnant demand for semiconductor related markets has seen Mitsubishi Materials Corp. (MMC) 1st quarter net sales (April-June 2012) down by 12.4% to Yen 309,674 billion ($3.934 billion) compared with the corresponding period last year. Net income for the 1st quarter decreased by 1.9% to Yen 5,398 billion.

MMC’s ‘Advanced Materials & Tools’ division, which includes the production of cemented carbide tools and structural PM parts, reported a 1% increase in sales in the 1st quarter to Yen 36.6 billion ($465 million) but a 27% drop in operating profit to Yen 3.2 billion ($4.066 million).

Cemented carbide tools sales were negatively impacted in 2012 by the flood damage at the company’s MMC Carbide Tools facility in Thailand, which is undergoing repairs.

Capital expenditure by the Advanced Materials & Tools division in 2012 jumped to Yen 11.4 billion, an increase of 98.7% over the amount spent the previous year.


Nippon Piston Ring Co., Ltd.

Nippon Piston Ring Co., Ltd., Japan’s leading producer of automotive engine parts such as piston rings, cylinder liners, and valve train parts, including structural PM parts and complex parts made by Metal Injection Moulding, reported full year results for 2011/2012 ,which saw sales rise by 3.7% to Yen 49,168 billion ($624.9 million) in a turbulent market.

Sales in the 1st quarter of the current financial year (2012/2013), however, remained flat compared with the previous quarter at Yen 12,584 billion ($159.8 million).


Sumitomo Electric Group

Japan’s Sumitomo Electric Group has seen a significant rebound from the devastating effect of the Great East Japan Earthquake that effected sales in the 2011/2012 financial year (April 2011 to end March 31, 2012)*. The group has reported a 19.4% increase in sales to Yen 527.2 billion ($6.699 billion) for the 1st quarter of the current financial year (April 1 to June 30, 2012).

Growth was achieved on the back of a global rise in vehicle production and demand for the Group’s automotive related products, which make up more than 50% of sales. Net income increased more than threefold to Yen 13.9 billion ($176 million) for this period.

The ‘Industrial Materials & Others’ division is one of six business segments at Sumitomo Electric and includes the production of cemented carbides (hardmetals), PM parts, and the fully owned A.L.M.T. subsidiary that produces W, Mo, heavy metal, thermal management materials, ceramics, diamond tools and hardmetals.

The division, which makes up around 13% of group sales, reported 1st quarter sales up by 5.3% to Yen 69.1 billion ($877.8 million) with PM part sales flat at Yen 10.9 billion ($138.4 million) compared with the same period in 2011/2012. Hardmetal sales showed an increase of 6.9% to Yen 18.5 billion ($235 million), and A.L.M.T. sales were slightly down in the 1st quarter at Yen 9.7 billion ($123 million).

New structural PM part and hardmetal manufacturing plants have been established by Sumitomo Electric in Indonesia and hardmetal sales companies were added in Turkey and Brazil. The company has also launched production of its recently developed ‘SumidiaTM Binderless’ cutting tool material at both Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal and A.L.M.T in Japan.

The new nano-polycrystalline diamond ‘Sumidia™ Binderless’ is a diamond material produced by firmly and directly bonding together fine grains of several tens of nanometers. This material has greater hardness than single crystal diamonds, and overcomes the drawback inherent to single crystal diamonds, namely the tendency to split (cleave) in a specific direction.

*Please note that in our news report of May 30, 2012, we incorrectly stated that full year sales revenue (April 2011 to end March 31, 2012) of the Sumitomo Electric Group of Japan was Yen 2,200 billion ($27.7 billion). This figure actually related to the company’s forecast sales for the following financial year (2012/2013) and the correct figure for annual sales for 2011/2012 should have read Yen 2,059 billion ($25,055 billion).


Posted by: Paul Whittaker, Editor ipmd.net, [email protected]   

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September 5, 2012

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