Nihon Seiko to Improve Profitability and Stable Antimony Supply

Japanese largest antimony trioxide maker, Nihon Seiko tries to finish the 3-year plan to fiscal 2006 ending March 2007. The firm expects the consolidated profit will renew record in fiscal 2006 after the renewals for 4 consecutive years. However, the firm faces challenges including higher raw materials cost and severer competition with Chinese products. The president Osamu Iwayama said the firm tries to expand the offshore operations and the sales of high valued products including sealing medium of semiconductor. Mr. Iwayama said the subsidiary, Nippon Atomized Metal Powders Corporation, which posted higher sales and profit, contributed to the favorable results for fiscal 2005 while the parent firm reduced the profit with higher sales. The firm decreased the sales volume of antimony trioxide when the Japanese market decreased by around 10%. He said the higher raw material cost reduced the margin though the firm tried to increase the selling price in June and September 2005 and Mach 2006 when antimony ingot price increased by 70% in fiscal 2005. Mr. Iwayama said the firm tried to increase the selling price effective on May 24 shipment and the users resist for the additional hike. However, the firm keeps asking users to accept the higher cost while the firm tries to absorb the part of the higher cost by improving productivity. Mr. Iwayama expects the international antimony ingot price could increase to more than US$ 6,000 per tonne though the price decreased by more than 10% from late April. He said the largest producing country of China tries to reduce mineral export to meet growing domestic demand. Mr. Iwayama said the firm tries to seek alternative sources in Southeast Asia, Australia and Canada in order to secure stable supply. He said the firm keeps studying the condition and the new sources could supply the mineral for the firm with profitability under the more than US$ 5,000 per tonne of ingot price.