Mounting naphtha prices, appreciation in Yen plague Japan's key chemical makers; firms repeatedly post profit decline

Skyrocketing prices of naphtha has led to a bleak scene for large Japanese chemical firms which have faced repeated downfalls in net profits, this time for the period of April-June, 2008. Among the firms unable to increase their net profits for the period include Sumitomo Chemical Co., Asahi Kasei Corp. and Tosoh Corp. Owing to Sumitomo Chemical's inability to pass the cost increment to the end clients aptly, the firm posted yet another operating loss for April-June, 2008. The naphtha prices piercing the roof and the yen's appreciation led to 50% reduction of operating profit of Asahi Kasei Corp's chemical division whereas Tosoh Corp. was plagued by its decision to withdraw from its join business. Mitsui Chemicals Inc. down-revised its group net profit estimate for the year ending March 2009 to 22 bln yen from 29 bln yen after lifting its forecast price of naphtha to 86,730 yen/kiloliter from 72,000 yen/kilolitre. Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. was a sole firm to see a recurring net profit increase, that too due to its decision to amalgamate the pharmaceutical units.
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