Volatile Nickel Price Lowers Japan Major Stainless Makers’ Results in F2011

Three of Japanese 4 major stainless steel makers, other than Nippon Yakin Kogyo, posted consolidated yearly recurring loss in fiscal 2011 ended in March 2012 mainly due to inventory evaluation loss caused by volatility of nickel market price. Four makers’ non-consolidated yearly sales volume decreased from the previous fiscal year. The shipment especially decreased for export under historically strong yen trend. For fiscal 2012, only Nippon Yakin Kogyo announced the earnings forecast, 10% year-to-year increase of the recurring profit.

Nippon Yakin Kogyo gained yearly recurring profit for the first time since fiscal 2007. Non-consolidated sales volume decreased for low grade products while increased by 4,000 tonnes for high functional products, mainly high alloy steel containing nickel at more than 30%. The high alloy steel shipment kept 10,100 tonnes per quarter through fiscal 2011. The annual inventory evaluation loss was approximately 200 million yen.

Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corporation (NSSC) explained the firm’s recurring profit improved by 200-300 million yen for January-March 2012 from October-December 2011 except negative impact of inventory evaluation. NSSC’s net recurring profit was estimated at zero for a full year of fiscal 2011. Nisshin Steel’s stainless unit posted 1.5 billion yen of net recurring profit in fiscal 2011 except inventory evaluation loss. Inventory evaluation loss was 3.6 billion yen at Nippon Metal Industry and 3.5 billion yen at Nisshin Steel.

NSSC’s yearly sales volume decreased by 11.3% to 785,000 tonnes in fiscal 2011 from fiscal 2010. Nisshin Steel’s stainless sales volume decreased by 2% to 490,000 tonnes. Nippon Metal Industry’s sales volume decreased by 12.2% to 229,200 tonnes. Nippon Yakin Kogyo’s non-consolidated sales volume (low grade products) decreased by 15.8% to 203,000 tonnes.