Tough times for Japan’s chemical makers

acs.org -- Nov 23

Japan’s three biggest chemical companies are seeing their earnings suffer from a slump in basic chemicals. All three experienced a sharp drop in profits in the first half of fiscal 2023, which ended Sept. 30, and one of them, Sumitomo Chemical, is forecasting a loss of $655 million for the full fiscal year.

For all three firms, petrochemical demand has declined due to the slow recovery of the Chinese economy and other factors. Sale prices have been slumping.

Sumitomo, the only Japanese chemical company with global petrochemical operations, posted a $306 million loss in its petrochemical division in the first half of the fiscal year due to poor performance at facilities in Japan, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia. In addition, the company’s pharmaceutical segment had a $451 million loss due to patent expiration for the antipsychotic drug Latuda. Its overall loss for the period was $666 million.

Specifically, Sumitomo aims to generate approximately $3.4 billion in cash and $344 million in profit by restructuring businesses, reducing inventories, more carefully selecting investments, selling assets, and utilizing surplus funds. ...continue reading