2022 New Year’s Message from President & CEO

January 4, 2022

2022 New Year’s Message from President & CEO Kenji Asakura to all NAGASE employees is as follows.

Happy New Year to all employees of the Nagase Group. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still going on, I am very grateful to safely start the new year with you all. I wish you all a healthy and hopeful new year.

Last year began and ended with the COVID-19. In the NAGASE Group, some employees were infected by the COVID-19 and had to suffer through a period of quarantine. I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to all those affected, their families, and all those concerned, and wish them a speedy recovery. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude once again to the administrative staff members of the NAGASE Group, who have taken a series of measures, including reporting and disinfection.

Although it was a tough and challenging year, the NAGASE Group was able to make significant changes and achieve another growth.

As for our business performance, each business segment performed better than the previous year, and the NAGASE Group achieved a record-high consolidated results in the first half of the year. Divisions and regions related to plastic raw materials continued to perform well and made a significant contribution to the results. Our Group companies have also greatly expanded their businesses, and each has achieved record results. There are only three months left in this fiscal year, and I would like to achieve the record-high Group results for the full fiscal year as well.

Since the start of ACE 2.0, our mid-term management plan with the theme of “Pursuit of Quality,” in April 2021, each organization has begun to take a step forward at a time, proactively developing new business models, new technologies, and new business domains. There are many examples, such as the visualization of CO2 in the supply chain, efforts to address pre-symptomatic state, and the establishment of a cross-organizational biotechnology team: the NAGASE Biotech Office (NBT). I am convinced that all of these initiatives will be the driving force of the future growth of the NAGASE Group.

Our way of working has also changed dramatically. A hybrid working model between the office and home, which we were struggling in the beginning, has now become the norm, and the efficiency of work seems to be improving day by day. In addition, with the full-scale introduction of CRM and business card management software, information sharing has progressed on the group basis, and I believe that the “quality” of each employee’s activities is improving.

I believe that it is the awareness and understanding of ACE 2.0 among all employees of the Group that has enabled us to make such progress in reforming and growing our business, despite facing various restrictions such as overseas travel and social events, and in the face of product shortages and logistics challenges.
It is truly the result of “participation by all,” and I am deeply grateful to all of employees.

Now that I have touched on changes in the way we work, I would like to talk about the project to rebuild the Tokyo Head Office building. This project is not just about creating a ‘sophisticated and cool’ building; it is about thoroughly discussing the NAGASE Group’s future style of working, and creating an exciting workplace where everyone can respect and interact with each other, while promoting the creation of new values. This is a big project for the entire NAGASE Group to create such an exciting workplace. I would like all of employees who work in other locations and in the Group companies, to discuss the future style of working and share your opinions. I am going to progress this project involving the entire NAGASE Group, so I would like to ask for your support.

This will be the last year that we will hold the New Year’s Greeting ceremony here at this place. Although I feel a little sad, I am excited to hold the ceremony in a new place.

The environment surrounding us in 2022 is uncertain.

While Ukraine and Taiwan are in the spotlight, rivalry in the relationship among the U.S., China and Russia will further divide the global economy. As we expand our global network, we must closely monitor the supply chains of the industries we are involved in and prepare for possible contingencies.

Rising raw material prices and energy costs are beginning to have a significant impact especially on the profits of the NAGASE Group’s manufacturing businesses. There is no time to wait for improvement of production processes. If we do not formulate and implement measures in a timely manner, we will quickly lose our competitive edge. As for the supply-demand balance and high prices of the products which have been contributing to our recent strong performance, we will be facing a major risk if we do not take quick measures such as inventory adjustments to prepare for a reversal.

Despite these concerns, fortunately, the economy in general is expected to grow steadily this year, backed by strong demand. Further growth and expansion is expected in the markets we serve, such as electronics, life and healthcare, automobiles, and food.

As for the COVID-19, I may be overly optimistic, but with the approval of therapeutic drugs, I personally believe that it will be under control by the second half of this year, the third year of the pandemic.

We are now in the second year of ACE 2.0 in such environment, and we must firmly promote its measures. We completed our preparations for the new normal under the slogan “BE READY!” last year. I hope you will make 2022 a year in which the various initiatives that have sprouted will take root and progress to commercialization and fruition. I hope that each organization will carry out its measures with confidence and strong will, without being deluded by current performance. I myself will spare no effort to help you all.

Sustainability is definitely one of the key words in this context. We are all aware that sustainability has become an important factor in various management decisions in corporate activities. The NAGASE Group has been actively promoting sustainability activities, with myself playing a leading role, and we launched two group-wide projects: Carbon Neutral Project and Employee Engagement Improvement Project. The concept of sustainability is something that will continue for many years to come, and the same can be said for these two projects. It may seem like a long, long way off and too idealistic. Some may wonder, “Is it profitable?” Nevertheless, I hope that all of our employees will become more familiar with sustainability and start thinking about it through progressing these projects.

I know that we have to maintain a balance between economic rationality and sustainability. I know that we have to make the right decisions at the right time. Nevertheless, we plan to further strengthen the NAGASE Group’s commitment to sustainability in 2022. I am sure that all of you will be involved in a variety of sustainability projects and initiatives. I would like to ask you to actively participate and cooperate in these projects and initiatives with a mind of ownership.

Therefore, I picked a phrase related to sustainability as the slogan for 2022: “Green it!” The phrase does not only refer to environmental matters. You can use this phrase in a variety of ways related to sustainability. If the phrase “Green it!” has come to your mind when you are working or making decisions as an organization or individual, the sustainability activities of the NAGASE Group will become more concrete. Let’s “Green it!” together throughout this year.

COVID-related restrictions will still continue for a while in 2022. We will need to hold back the joy of gathering for another year. Not that it’s a replacement, but I plan to send out more messages to everyone this year. I will do my best to communicate with you as much as possible.

To conclude my message, I would like to extend my best wishes for a healthy and fruitful year to everyone in the NAGASE Group and their family members, and I hope that the day that people all over the world will be able to return to their safe and secure lifestyles will come soon.

January 4, 2022
Kenji Asakura

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