Japan: glass majors see record profits in fiscal 2005

Three major Japanese glass manufacturers expect to post strong results for the current fiscal year as a result of higher sales of glass substrates and other products, with Asahi Glass Co. and Central …

Three major Japanese glass manufacturers expect to post strong results for the current fiscal year as a result of higher sales of glass substrates and other products, with Asahi Glass Co. and Central Glass Co. forecasting record pretax profits. Nippon Sheet Glass Co., expects growth in both sales and pretax profit. Asahi Glass sees group pretax profit reaching an all-time high of JPY 138 billion (USD 1.3 billion), although this will likely be up just 2%, due in part to falling prices of glass substrates used for flat-panel screens. A reduction in inventory of glass used for TV picture tubes will also put a limit on profits. Central Glass expects a second straight year of record pretax profits, with the figure set to reach JPY 19 billion, thanks to strong sales of special glass products. But profit growth will slow to 1% due to heavy depreciation charges. Nippon Sheet Glass projects a 13% rise in pretax profit to JPY15 billion. Output capacity of printer lenses will be increased, and an equity-method affiliate producing glass substrates for LCDs is expected to perform strongly.