Taiheiyo Cement Corporation, the largest Japanese cement producer, has reported a turnover 5.2 per cent lower at ¥879,484m (US$7,990m) for its financial year to the end of March 2004. The trading profit emerged 2.6 per cent down at ¥44,847m (US$407m) but the profit before extraordinary items rose by 50.3 per cent to ¥35,142m (US$319m) thanks to a 9.3 per cent drop in the interest charge to ¥15,011m (US$136m) and a change from losses of ¥6,436m (US$58m) in the previous year to a profit of ¥504m (US$4.6m) from equity accounted affiliates.
Japan continues to be the mainstay of the group¹s activities and accounted for 80.6% of the turnover generated during the 2003/04 financial year, and the trading profit there was off by 2.7 per cent to ¥32,692m (US$297m) to give a trading margin of 4.6 per cent. The North American business was affected by the weakness of the US dollar and turnover there fell by 6.7 per cent to ¥72,311m (US$657m) and the reduced profitability of shipping cement across the Pacific could be seen in a 34.5 per cent drop in the trading profit to ¥6,074m (US$55m) but even at 8.4 per cent the North American trading margin remains the highest in the group. North America accounted for 8.1 per cent of the group turnover, while Asia outside Japan represented 10.7 per cent. Here turnover rose by 41.6 per cent to ¥94,759m (US$861m) and the trading profit advanced by 53.4 per cent to ¥7,070m (US$64m) to give an improved trading margin of 7.5 per cent.