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SummaryMost relevantAll NewsAnalyst Reco.Other languagesPress ReleasesOfficial PublicationsSector newsMarketScreener Strategies

Japan traders' results a mixed bag as commodity rally offsets virus hit

05/11/2021 | 02:00am EDT
FILE PHOTO: A logo of Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp outside headquarters in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's giant trading houses reported mixed annual results, with Marubeni Corp swinging to a better than expected profit and Sumitomo Corp posting a record net loss amid the COVID-19 pandemic and strong bulk commodity prices.

Sweeping global lockdowns killed off global air travel in the year ended March 31, suspended mining and energy projects and cut consumer spending on clothes and restaurants, hurting revenues for the trading companies whose portfolios span the gamut of raw material markets among others.

Some firms, however, benefited from a rally in iron ore and copper which both scaled record highs this year amid tight supplies and a robust demand outlook. Soaring grain prices, mainly corn, also lent support.

Sumitomo reported the worst performance among the top-five Japanese trading companies, clocking its biggest loss as the pandemic suspended its Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar for one year, causing a hefty writedown.

Mitsubishi Corp's net profit slumped by 68% as lower coking coal prices and an impairment on its convenience store unit Lawson Inc eroded earnings.

"We had a very difficult year as our mainstay businesses were deeply affected by the pandemic," CEO Takehiko Kakiuchi said.

Mitsui & Co and Itochu Corp reported smaller falls in profits - 14% and 20%, respectively - while Marubeni booked a profit that exceeded its guidance and returned the firm to profitability from a loss the previous year.

The shares of the five firms have all gained this year, with Marubeni's handily outpacing others with a 43% rise.

Graphic: Japan trading houses shares:

Soaring iron ore prices helped Mitsui, Itochu and Marubeni offset weak sales of oil, aircraft and train leasing, apparel and food service items, with stronger grain prices also bolstering Marubeni's results as profit of its U.S. grain trading unit Gavilon surged.

Forecasts for this year were also mixed, with Itochu and Mitsui predicting a 37% increase in net profit to a record 550 billion yen ($5.1 billion) and 460 billion yen, respectively, while Mitsubishi's profit outlook was for a smaller 380 billion.

Sumitomo forecast a quick turnaround to a 230 billion yen profit from a 153 billion yen loss a year earlier, while Marubeni's guidance of 230 billion yen represented a mere 2% rise despite robust commodity prices.

"We've made a conservative forecast...as grain prices are not likely to continue their rally like last year," Marubeni CEO Masumi Kakinoki said.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

By Yuka Obayashi

© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CORN FUTURES (C) - CBR (FLOOR)/C1 1.08% 538 End-of-day quote.9.97%
ITOCHU CORPORATION -0.37% 3250 End-of-day quote.9.65%
LAWSON, INC. -0.93% 5330 End-of-day quote.10.93%
LONDON BRENT OIL 1.41% 85.7 Delayed Quote.63.93%
MARUBENI CORPORATION -0.79% 949 End-of-day quote.38.32%
MITSUBISHI CORPORATION -0.42% 3559 End-of-day quote.40.06%
MITSUI & CO., LTD. -0.50% 2574.5 End-of-day quote.36.25%
S&P GSCI CORN INDEX 0.84% 444.1692 Delayed Quote.10.23%
SUMITOMO CORPORATION -0.19% 1599 End-of-day quote.17.10%
WTI 2.23% 84.151 Delayed Quote.70.78%
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Sales 2022 714 B 6 287 M 6 287 M
Net income 2022 18 678 M 165 M 165 M
Net Debt 2022 66 391 M 585 M 585 M
P/E ratio 2022 28,6x
Yield 2022 2,81%
Capitalization 533 B 4 691 M 4 699 M
EV / Sales 2022 0,84x
EV / Sales 2023 0,75x
Nbr of Employees 10 385
Free-Float 43,1%
Duration : Period :
Lawson, Inc. Technical Analysis Chart | 2651 | JP3982100004 | MarketScreener
Technical analysis trends LAWSON, INC.
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 13
Last Close Price 5 330,00 JPY
Average target price 4 892,31 JPY
Spread / Average Target -8,21%
EPS Revisions
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Sadanobu Takemasu President & Representative Director
Satoshi Nakaniwa CFO, Director & Senior Managing Executive Officer
Tomoki Takanishi Executive Officer & General Manager-Administration
Emi Osono Independent Outside Director
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