For the Japanese gases business it’s been a mixed start to the year. The earthquake and tsunami that so devastated eastern Japan in March undoubtedly caused ripples throughout the country’s gases business, but there has been some positive news emanating from the region, with the recent financial closings of the majors.

According to The Gas Review, all four majors (Taiyo Nippon Sanso, Air Water, Iwatani, Koatsu Gas Kogyo) achieved increases in sales, though the full year closings of Koatsu Gas Kogyo have yet to be reported.

For Taiyo Nippon Sanso (TNSC), it was a case of earnings up, profit down and an extraordinary loss of ¥7.4bn recorded. Sales rose by 11.6% and operating profit showed an increase of 28.7% – in terms of business earnings, the company did well. However, an extraordinary loss of ¥7.41bn was incurred due to the allotment of a fine for violation of the Anti-Monopoly Law (ordered by the Japan Fair Trade Commission), and there were also expenses incurred to recover from the damage caused by March’s earthquake.

For Air Water, sales and operating profit were both up by over 10%, but with an extraordinary loss of ¥6.6bn attributed to the earthquake damage and fines, again related to the Japan Fair Trade Commission. Sales rose 10.7% and an increase in profit continued to be recorded for the eighth successive term, while a highlight was in sales of onsite oxygen to the steel industry, which increased by 30%.

At Iwatani, an increase in sales and profit was also recorded, though the emphasis in terms of highlights was more on the liquid hydrogen front, where an expansion in demand for both new and existing customers was reported. Sales on a consolidated basis were 11.4% up, with ordinary profit having risen by 10.9% too. Operating profit rose 8.3% and net profit showed an 11.8% increase – the highest ever recorded for the second year in a row. In terms of losses, a loss of ¥280m was recorded as a Loss Due to the Disaster (earthquake) and a further ¥499m was allotted (recorded as an extraordinary loss) for fines related to the mandate by the Japan Fair Trade Commission.

Source: The Gas Review (TGR)