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Mitsui to restructure polyurethane, close plants and enter merchant TDI market

By: Simon Robinson
URETHANES TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

February 11, 2014

Mitsui Chemicals Inc's future business in polyurethanes lies in specialty grades and will be more closely aligned to the Middle East, said Toshikazu Tanaka, president and CEO, as he announced a major business restructuring.

The restructuring, which will see Japanese facilities close, is an attempt to stem losses and return to profitability, the company said in a statement on Feb. 6.

Speaking during Mitusi Chemical's quarterly results announcement, Tanaka said: "With unwavering determination, we will initiate the measures and tactics full force to assure realization of a V-shaped turnaround."

The Tokyo-based company is struggling with costs, according to the announcement. Sales grew from Yen 1406 billion ($13.7 billion) in 2012 to an estimated Yen 1570 billion in 2013, said Tanaka. He said the firm's operating loss would grow from Yen 4.3 billion to Yen 25 billion and has taken a Yen 32 billion charge in 2013 to pay for restructuring. Tanaka also promised to cut director salaries by 12-20 percent, and bonuses too. He added that the company expected to start paying a dividend to shareholders at the end of 2014 financial year.

Mitsui's polyurethane business saw its loss of Yen 2.6 billion in 2012 grow to an estimated Yen 4 billion in 2013, said Tanaka.

In future, Mitsui plans to focus on coating engineering materials in polyurethane through specialty isocyanates, which account for 36 percent of the company's Yen 170 billion sales in the sector. Mitsui's portfolio of plants in its general polyurethanes sector, which account for 64 percent of sales in the business sector, will be optimized, he said.

A complete version of this story is available at utech-polyurethane.com.