Showa Denko K.K. (SDK), involved in the production and supply of specialty gases and high grade ammonia gas, has declared an 11.6% increase in its consolidated operating income for the 12 months of 2007 from January to December, and revealed it is targeting sustainable growth in the future months and years ahead.

Consolidated operating income rose to Y 76.671m, up 11.9% while ordinary income was up 4.3%, to reach Y59.989m - despite increases in non-operating expenses. Net income increased 14.7%, to Y33.066m, due partly to the fall in extraordinary losses.

Despite a somewhat tumeltous year, the Japanese economy continued its gradual recovery owing to steady capital spending against the background of strong corporate earnings and increases in exports to Asian countries. Similarly, under the circumstances the Showa Denko Group implemented its consolidated business plan, the Passion Project, with a view to laying the groundwork for long-term sustainable growth. The group took various steps to expand growth businesses, while continuing its structural reform and cost reduction efforts.

The company reports that production of liquefied ammonia was slightly down, though sales of commodity industrial gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen also decreased. As a result, the chemicals segment's sales rose 7.0%, to Y84.709m, and operating income jumped 45.5%, to Y7.431m. Sales of semiconductor-processing specialty gases decreased too, as the shipment volumes of LCD-panel cleaning agents fell and as a result, the electronics segment's sales increased 21.4%, to Y201.013m.

Showa Denko has also implemented a number of actions throughout the past year however, and sees continual developments in these areas as the path for progress in the future.

In terms of petrochemicals, the company modified its ethylene plant at the Oita Petrochemical Complex on a large scale to improve the plant's energy efficiency and cost-competitiveness, with the work to be completed in 2010. Completion of a high-purity ammonia plant in Taiwan was carried out in November, when the company expanded the production capacity at its subsidiary Taiwan Showa Chemicals Manufacturing Co. Ltd. from 1,000 tpy to 1,200 tpy to meet growing demand from the electronics industry of East Asian countries. Reflecting sharp rises in the production of semiconductors and LCD panels in the region, Showa Denko also reports that demand for high-purity ammonia is increasing for use as a nitride-film-forming gas in the production process and as a result of its expansion, the company has further strengthened its position as a stable supplier of high-purity ammonia.

In June, the company's specialty gas storage facility was completed in Anseong-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, as revealed by gasworld. The facility is intended as a measure to better serve the rapidly growing semiconductor and LCD panel market in the country and with the completion of the facility, Showa Denko will provide specialty gases to its customers in South Korea in a more ‘timely and reliable’ manner.

Looking ahead to future plans for progression, the group expects to carry out the Passion Project, a consolidated business plan that runs from 2006 through 2008 and lays the groundwork for long-term sustainable growth. The group, which serves a wide range of customers and industries, will also continue taking comprehensive measures to reduce costs, increase competitiveness, and enhance profitability.