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Sumitomo posts record H1 loss amid Covid crisis

[TOKYO] Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corp reported a record net loss of 60.2 billion yen (S$784 million) for the first half of its financial year as it booked hefty one-off losses amid the Covid-19 crisis.

It maintained its full-year forecast for a record net loss of 150 billion yen despite Sumitomo chief financial officer Masaru Shiomi noting that earnings excluding one-off items had exceeded the company's August forecasts.

"We are sticking to our full-year forecast as there is uncertainty over the pandemic and as we plan to book additional one-off losses in the second half," he told a news conference.

For the six months to Sept 30, Sumitomo posted a total one-off loss of 135 billion yen, including a writedown of 25 billion yen on its stake and lending in the Bluewaters coal power station in Australia.

Having already booked an impairment loss of 55 billion yen on its 54 per cent stake in the Ambatovy nickel mine in Madagascar in its April-June first quarter, Sumitomo warned on Friday it could book an additional impairment on the project depending on the price of the metal and its output plan, which is being reviewed.

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Sumitomo plans to resume operations at Ambatovy early next year as planned, having halted them in March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, said Hiroyuki Sugai, assistant CFO of the company. It aims to produce 3,000 tonnes of nickel during the January-March quarter, he added.

It also suspended operations its San Cristobal silver-zinc-lead mine in Bolivia but they resumed in May.


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