On behalf of UACJ’s management, it is my pleasure to wish all members and stakeholders of the UACJ Group a safe and happy New Year.
I would like to take the opportunity of the New Year to address everyone in the UACJ Group. For five years following UACJ’s establishment on October 1, 2013, the Company and all of its subsidiaries have been working together to make the UACJ Group a major global aluminum manufacturer. After closely examining that five-year history and envisioning our future direction, we announced a set of management policies in May of last year under our second three-year mid-term management plan, effective from fiscal 2018.
The aluminum industry has been undergoing dramatic changes over the past five years, particularly rapid growth in demand for automotive aluminum as automakers shift toward lighter-weight cars and electric vehicles. UACJ proactively planned and executed a number of strategic investments in response to these trends, starting with the optimization of its production network in Japan as a means to reinforce the Group’s footing in the industry. That included boosting production of automotive body sheet at Fukui Works by installing new heat treatment and finishing equipment.
In the United States, we increased the production capacity of Tri-Arrows Aluminum’s Logan Mill and expanded the Group’s facilities in the precision-machined components business. In Asia, we raised the production capacity of aluminum rolling mills in China, and carried out the third phase of investment in UACJ (Thailand), equipping its Rayong Works for fully integrated product manufacturing. UACJ (Thailand) has already realized the fruits of these investments, as it posted record-high results for monthly production output and sales volume this past November. Meanwhile, to drive research and development at the Group’s newly expanded operations outside Japan, we have recently established R&D centers in both the U.S. and Thailand.