Overview of Business Domains:
Industrial Materials Domain

In its Industrial Materials domain, the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings (MCHC) Group strives to increase the use of renewable resources while providing products and technologies that meet the current needs of growing industries and markets.

Financial results and main products

MMA

FY2019
Sales revenue

¥ 276.4billion

FY2019
Core operating income

¥ 24.3billion

MMA

Our production capacity of this organic compound accounts for about 40% of total global capacity. We produce this through three methods* using different raw materials, and are pursuing advancements in its manufacturing processes while leveraging cost competitiveness and access to raw materials through a global supply chain.

  • The acetone cyanohydrin (ACH) method, C4 direct oxidation process, and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation’s new ethylene method called Alpha technology.
PMMA

We manufacture this thermoplastic, which boasts excellent transparency, weather-resistance, and formability, for a wide range of products, particularly acrylic sheets for signs, display cases and aquarium tanks. It is also used in auto parts, optical components, consumer electronics components, and plastic optical fibers.

Petrochemicals

FY2019
Sales revenue

¥ 534.4billion

FY2019
Core operating income

¥ 2.1billion

Basic petrochemicals and basic chemical derivatives

This business supplies olefins, including ethylene and propylene, and aromatics, such as benzene and toluene. It also sells terephthalic acid and various derivatives from ethylene, propylene and C4. The MCHC Group operates two ethylene plants in Japan, one in Ibaraki Prefecture owned by Mitsubishi Chemical, and another in Okayama Prefecture owned by Asahi Kasei Mitsubishi Chemical Ethylene Corporation, a 50:50 joint venture company between Mitsubishi Chemical and Asahi Kasei Corporation.

Polyolefins

Applying our proprietary catalyst and process technologies, this business supplies high-quality and high-performance polyethylene and polypropylene materials, which are used to manufacture a diverse range of products spanning from auto parts and electrical wires to medical equipment and food packaging. As a global supplier of these high-performance materials, we are expanding this business into growing industries around the world, including the auto industry.

Carbon Products

FY2019
Sales revenue

¥ 246.3billion

FY2019
Core operating income

¥ 8.1billion

Coke

Coke is an essential material for the global steel industry, and the coal tar produced in its manufacturing process is also used as a raw material for many types of products. We procure coal from a number of countries and blend it with 60 to 70 types of raw materials to produce coke of various quality grades.

Carbon black

Carbon black is used to make many common goods, such as tires, printing ink, and rubber coloring. We apply strict quality controls at every stage of the carbon black manufacturing process, from raw material processing to finished product inspections.

Other products: carbon materials / synthetic rubber

Industrial Gases

FY2019
Sales revenue

¥ 843.3billion

FY2019
Core operating income

¥ 88.0billion

Industrial gases

Having secured the top share (40%) of Japan’s market for industrial gases, which includes oxygen, nitrogen and argon, we are working to expand this business in other major markets of the world, particularly in North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

Industrial gas-related equipment and facilities

Building on a long history of achievements, such as constructing Japan’s first air separation units in 1935, we have earned a strong reputation around the world as a manufacturer of industrial gas-related equipment and facilities, including space-simulation chambers and liquid helium equipment.

SWOT analysis

SStrengths

MMA business
  • We use three manufacturing methods and hold the top share of the global MMA market.
Petrochemicals business
  • We have amassed advanced technologies across a broad product chain ranging from basic petrochemicals to derivatives.
Carbon Products business
  • We possess exceptional coking coal blending technologies and coke quality management technologies.
Industrial Gases business
  • As a group, we hold the top share of Japan’s industrial gases market and can supply these gases to markets around the world.

WWeaknesses

MMA business
  • Earnings in this business fluctuate according to raw material prices and global market conditions.
Petrochemicals business
  • This business is sensitive to changing prices of crude oil and other commodities.
Carbon Products business
  • Earnings in this business fluctuate depending on coking coal prices.
Industrial Gases business
  • Business earnings in Japan are impacted by electricity costs.

OOpportunities

MMA business
  • Our international operations have enough capacity to meet growing global demand.
Petrochemicals business
  • This business can leverage technology license agreements and proprietary catalysts in growing markets around the world.
Carbon Products business
  • We can tap into growing demand for coke as crude steel production expands in developing countries such as India.
Industrial Gases business
  • As a group, we can take advantage of growing investment opportunities around the world and rising demand for gas applications in the electronics and medical device industries.

TThreats

MMA business
  • Our products face competition from alternative materials.
Petrochemicals business
  • Competition in Japan has intensified due to greater than expected imports of petrochemicals derived from US shale and Chinese coal.
Carbon Products business
  • Demand for coke could decline as steel manufacturers consolidate their blast furnaces as part of restructuring.
Industrial Gases business
  • Our international competitors have become larger following mergers of major European and American gas companies.

APTSIS 20

Policies
  • Stabilize earnings by improving cost competitiveness
  • Accelerate growth and increase presence in the global market
Key
strategies
  • Enhance cost competitiveness
  • Accelerate global expansion of the MMA and Industrial Gases businesses
  • Restructure businesses
Planned investment from FY2016 to FY2020: Total investment 1,280 billion yen, Investment in R&D 80 billion yen. Core operating income: FY2016 114.7 billion yen, FY2017 205.4 billion yen, FY2018 194.4 billion yen, FY2019 118.3 billion yen, FY2020 Forecast 96.0 billion yen, FY2020 Target 225.0 billion yen

Strategy for expanding the MMA business

With about 40% of global production capacity for MMA, we are working to maintain our overwhelming competitive advantage as the leading global supplier by optimizing manufacturing processes, and to expand globally by boosting production capacity. Global expansion is being driven by one of our operating companies Mitsubishi Chemical, the world’s only supplier capable of producing MMA through three different methods: the ACH method, C4 direct oxidation process, and its own new ethylene method called Alpha technology. It carries out highly advanced global supply chain management utilizing digitalization to promptly monitor supply and demand in every region of the world, as well as market trends, raw material availability, and costs incurred for each manufacturing method. It is also applying digitalization to optimize manufacturing processes and maintain a competitive edge in the global market while securing stable earnings.

Leveraging a dependable global supply network
World map: Uniter Kingdom ACH 217kt, Saudi Arabia New ethylene method 250kt, China ACH 175kt/C4 90kt, South Korea C4 180kt, Thailand C4 180kt, Singapore New ethylene method 130kt, Taiwan ACH 105kt, Japan C4 110kt/ACH 107kt, Uniter States ACH300kt, US PJ New ethylene method (under feasibility study). Annual production capacity of MMA: C4 direct oxidation process  560kt + ACH method 904kt + New ethylene method 380kt = Total:1,844kt (Approx, 40% of global capacity)

Strategy for improving competitiveness in the Petrochemicals business

We have carried out major structural reforms in the Petrochemicals business, such as consolidating its naphtha cracking operations and withdrawing from unprofitable businesses. Building on this progress, we are now proceeding to upgrade manufacturing facilities and optimize production systems as a means to improve competitiveness and maximize earnings going forward.

As part of these efforts, Mitsubishi Chemical and ENEOS Corporation (former JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation) are currently studying chemical recycling technologies to reuse plastic waste as raw materials for oil refining and petrochemical production. Toward that end, in November 2019, it formed a 50:50 joint venture company in the city of Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture, through a limited liability partnership with JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation (currently ENEOS Corporation), thereby promoting cooperation between Japan’s oil refinery and petrochemical industries. Both partners will aim to boost their international competitiveness by converting plastic waste into raw materials for gasoline and other fuels and using these raw materials more efficiently in production processes, and optimizing the production of petrochemical products.

Envisioned plastic waste recycling process
Diagram: Plastic waste -> Treatment facilities -> Oil refining -> Napftha cracking -> Derivatives and polymer products -> Customers ( -> Plastic waste). Crude oil -> Oil refining -> Napftha cracking -> Derivatives and polymer products -> Customers ( -> Plastic waste)

Strategy for improving competitiveness in the Carbon Products business

Excluding steel producers, Mitsubishi Chemical is one of the largest coke manufacturers in the world, and provides a dependable supply of coke to a wide range of steel makers in Japan and around the globe. To improve its international competitiveness and maximize earnings, the company is making continuous efforts to add more value to its coke byproducts.

Photo: Coke furnace

Focus: Industrial Gases segment Group company takes a major step forward with shift to a holding company structure

Amid a growing concentration of companies in the industrial gas industry, Nippon Sanso Holdings Corporation has been aiming to solidify its position by globalizing its operations, which is a basic policy of its medium-term management plan, Ortus Stage 2, launched in April 2017. Accordingly, the company acquired part of the European operations of Praxair, Inc., a US-based industrial gas supplier, in December 2018, and set up a global supply network covering four operating regions: Japan, the US, Europe, and Asia and Oceania.

To build on this momentum against the backdrop of changing geopolitical and economic trends, the company’s management recognized the need to leverage the collective capabilities of the group led by Nippon Sanso Holdings, and boost its competitiveness against major players in the global industrial gas market. Therefore, from October 2020, it was decided to shift to a holdings company structure and changed the name to Nippon Sanso Holdings, and create a more competitive group operating structure.

Through this shift, the company will allocate authority among its operating companies in each of the aforementioned regions, and clarify responsibilities for business execution to speed up management decision-making. It also plans to strategically distribute operational resources and formulate strategies for the group as a whole while stepping up corporate governance and improving its risk management system.

Shifting to a new global management system
New global management system effective from October 2020 : Diagram: “Global headquarters” Corporate management, Strategic planning, Corporate governance, “Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation(Japan)” “Nippon Gases Euro-Holdings S.L.U.(Europe)” “Thermos K.K.” “Matheson Tri-Gas, Inc.(US)” “Asia and Oceania regional group companies”
Global operating companies: World map: Nippon Gases Euro-Holdings: Europe. Taiyo Nippon Sanso: India, China, Southeast Asia, Australia, Japan. Matheson Tri-Gas:United States

Solutions for environmental and social issuesCreating more employee-friendly workplaces by reducing stressful and physically demanding work

Mitsubishi Chemical practices sound management based on the principles of the MCHC Group’s KAITEKI Health and Productivity Management. Accordingly, the company has been taking steps to make its workplaces more motivating and dynamic for its diverse employees with a view to raise productivity and promote innovation. For example, measures to reduce stressful and physically demanding work were initiated in fiscal 2019 along with other priority initiatives based on over 2,000 ideas and suggestions collected from employees working at factories and other workplaces throughout the company. While requests to reduce heavy physical labor had been technically difficult to realize in the past, the company has begun adopting AI, IoT, robotics, and other new technologies to solve these issues and make it easier for all employees to participate in the workplace.

Powered exoskeletons are being considered as a way to reduce physically demanding work
Photo: Working scene wearing a powered suits