Japanese cement firms seen moving into black in FY10

Japanese cement firms seen moving into black in FY10
Published: 27 April 2011

Taiheiyo Cement Corp and Sumitomo Osaka Cement Coo are expected to report group net profits for the year ended 31 March 2011, overcoming year-earlier losses by streamlining domestic operations.

Taiheiyo Cement apparently logged a net profit of JPY4bn (US$49m), recovering from the JPY37bn loss of fiscal 2009 and coming nearly in line with a previous forecast. Sales fell slightly to around JPY700bn but still beat the target. Operating profit tripled to JPY11bn, exceeding the firm’s forecast of JPY10.5bn. Taiheiyo Cement shut down three domestic plants and let go slightly more than 1000 workers, or 7% of its entire workforce.

Sumitomo Osaka Cement’s net profit appears to have come to roughly JPY500m, besting the target of JPY300m and turning around the JPY800m loss in fiscal 2009. Sales edged up to around JPY200bn, exceeding a company target. Operating profit doubled to about JPY6bn, beating its projection of JPY5.5bn. Sumitomo Osaka Cement improved margins by reducing output capacity and the volume of coal used in cement production.

Domestic demand for cement reached about 41.6Mt, 1.6Mt more than the two firms expected, thanks to regional public works projects and a pickup in housing starts.

Extraordinary losses from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami amounted to hundreds of millions of yen at Taiheiyo Cement and JPY700m at Sumitomo Osaka Cement.