Nikko Materials Aims New Growth toward FY2008

Nippon Mining Holdings will integrate its 3 subsidiaries into one firm named Nippon Mining & Metals on April 1, 2006 and Nikko Materials, one of the subsidiaries and the supplier of electronic materials, will become the electronic materials company of Nippon Mining & Metals. Nikko Materials now designs its 3-year management plan toward March 2009. Isao Yamanashi, president of Nikko Materials, said to Japan Metal Bulletin that the firm aims 150 billion yen of the consolidated net sales and 15 billion yen of the recurring profit during the 3-year plan.Mr. Yamanashi said Nikko Materials starts equipment and output expansion for its main products and the production of metallized two-layer polyimide film called “MAQINAS” in 2006. He also aims to start development of next generation products which could gain profits in the future even after the 3-year plan. He pointed out the semiconductor market would not undergo significant changes when the market grows stably in Asia and semiconductor makers strictly control their inventories after bursting of the information technology bubble. Nikko Materials especially focuses on most advanced sputtering targets for semiconductors and would not be impacted much by changes in the semiconductor market. Then the firm could continue to increase the output, Mr. Yamanashi said. He aims to maintain the top market share with growing products such as sputtering targets for 300 millimeters diameter silicon wafer. On the other hand, the supply of liquid crystal panel is said to become easy in this autumn, for which indium tin oxide (ITO) targets are used. Mr. Yamanashi indicated the panel supply might become surplus contemporarily in the last half of 2006 when panel makers’ new equipment starts commercial operation. However, he considers the market of liquid crystal display grows more in the future and the over supply could not be serious. The rolled copper foil business is in the competition with electrolytic copper foil in the market of flexible printed circuit (FPC). Mr. Yamanashi analyzes electrolytic copper foil makers entered into the FPC market 2-3 years ago when Nikko Materials could not supply to meet the needs for rolled copper foil. He said customers recently use both rolled and electrolytic copper foils depending on the applications. Nikko Materials will expand the output capacity of rolled copper foil toward fiscal 2007 ended March 2008 with the wide growth of the FPC market, while the expansion schedule and the volume are not decided yet, he said.