Ask IR Officers!
Here is a real-time report of the frequently asked questions during IR activities.
May. 28.2020 10:40
I watched your video briefing on the FY2019 financial results (https://kito.com/ir/library/presentation) and learned that tire-chain demand fell in the US due to a warmer-than-usual winter. I didn't know that Kito produces chain as well. How big is that operation?
In August 2014 Kito acquired Peerless Industrial Group, one of the largest chain manufacturers in the US. Peerless makes annual sales worth roughly $100 million, of which tire chain accounts for 25-30%. The acquisition of Peerless helped Kito achieve our goals to strengthen production of chain, the most important component in chain hoists (our core product group), and broaden our hoist-accessory line, including chain and slings.
May. 13.2020 15:17
What are the immediate effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on your operations?
The health and safety of our customers, business partners, employees and their families are our top priority. The Kito Group, in all its operational bases worldwide, is following the policies of the respective governments and is working to prevent the spread of Covid-19. As of today (May 13), production is as usual in Japan, the US and China, and parts procurement and product supplies have not been particularly affected. Except in India where operation continues at the reduced level under its government instruction, our sales offices around the world are making utmost effort, through telework and other methods, to provide the products and services customers’ needs without interruption.
May. 13.2020 15:13
What were the financial results for fiscal 2019 (April 2019-March 2020) you announced today, May 13th?
Kito ended FY2019 with both sales and operating profit below projections, by 2.2% and 8.8%, respectively. Demand related to infrastructure and private equipment investment were strong, but at the end of the fiscal year earnings in some regions were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In comparison with the FY2018 results, earnings in the US were about the same, and sales grew in China on brisk domestic demand. However, demand softened in Japan in the autumn and onward, and a dip in South Korean operations impacted earnings across Asia. Because it is difficult to rationally assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic at this moment, we decided not to disclose projected results for the fiscal year ending March 2021, as well as a projected dividend for the fiscal year. As soon as we can make reliable projections, we will disclose them.
May. 01.2020 09:10
I heard that Kito produces chain in-house as well. Is Kito chain used in other ways than with hoists?
Yes. In addition to its role as a key component in our hoists, chain is used with slings to hold heavy loads for lifting. Chain must be strong, because if it happens to break and the load falls, it puts human life at risk and significantly impacts workplace operations. At the Yamanashi Plant we produce chain from carefully selected materials, applying state-of-the-art processing technology and putting all through load and other precision testing. The result is the world's premier grade-100 chain, in which we take great pride.
Mar. 23.2020 13:00
What measures is Kito taking to reduce its environmental impact?
Kito provides customers with safe, durable products they can use over long periods, and across the entire product life cycle, from production to disposal, we work to reduce environmental impact. At the Yamanashi Plant we use our own purchasing guidelines listing the hazardous materials we voluntarily refrain from using in any of our manufacturing processes, and work to reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and environmentally harmful materials. A specific case in point is our recent shift to powder-coating, which reduced our use of organic solvents by 70% from our 2015 levels.
Feb. 13.2020 10:10
Have Kito's production or supply chain been affected by recent concern about the new coronavirus?
Kito's main products, like chain hoists and lever hoists, are in a very large part produced in-house. Chain and other important parts are produced and processed exclusively at the Yamanashi Plant. Parts we procure from China directly and indirectly account for only 10% of total parts in our supply chain. So we are not concerned about short supply of any specific kinds of parts at the moment, but we have opened discussion on switching to alternative Japanese suppliers should the epidemic persist.
Feb. 12.2020 17:38
What were the financial results up to the third quarter for FY2019 (April-December), which you announced today (Feb. 12)?
Profit is down due to the strengthening yen, exchange losses, and accounted nonrecurring costs, but both sales and operating profit are tracking the projections for the year we announced on November 17. We have seized order opportunities abroad, making the most of our diverse portfolio in terms of regions and industries. The results are higher regional sales in local currencies than those in the corresponding period of FY2018, but slightly lower consolidated sales due to exchange losses. Corporate equipment investment remains cautious, but we project a year-on-year increase in orders for FY2020.
Jan. 30.2020 09:12
Tell us about the characteristics and advantages of Kito products.
Kito products respond to the universal, never-ending need to lift, move and hold heavy loads, cutting across international and industry lines. We put the customer's safety first, and provide durable products that can be as compact and light as they can be. We are also strong in custom-built and high-performance products to suit specific user environments and purposes, drawing very positive user evaluations for their quality and ease of operation. By delivering products that our customers can rely on over the long term with safety and confidence, Kito helps them control cost while reducing industrial waste and other kinds of environmental impact.
Jan. 14.2020 12:54
What are you doing to attract more individual shareholders?
We consider it high-priority that we increase the number of individual shareholders. To raise our profile among potential individual investors, we've been participating in a nationwide program of seminars designed for them, with seven programs in fiscal 2018 and five so far this fiscal year. To help existing individual shareholders better understand Kito and feel more involved, we hold tours of the Yamanashi Plant twice a year and an after hours presentation following the annual shareholders meeting. This column was itself designed to promptly answer the questions of individual investors and shareholders. Kito aims for a dividend payout ratio of 20% or more, and FY2019 will be the third consecutive year of dividend increase.
Dec. 24.2019 09:32
Your equipment investment has increased this year. Please give us the details on that.
At the Yamanashi Plant we have been intensively investing in production equipment to raise productivity and expand capacity, preparing for future demand growth. From this fiscal year on into the next we have two investment priorities to reduce production cost: 1) revamping the equipment and lines currently impeding production growth, 2) optimizing the plant's internal distribution system. As we invest we are undertaking pro-environment measures, switching to more energy-efficient equipment, and reducing our use of organic solvents and other toxic materials.
Dec. 13.2019 15:19
Your letters to shareholders and website mention examples of your hoists and cranes used in the food industry. Tell us more.
Demand has been growing for equipment on the food-processing floor, because of new requirements on hygiene control following the HACCP to be enforced in June 2020. To meet the needs of food manufactures, we apply lubricating oil, which is harmless to humans, and corrosion resistance materials to the food grade electric chain hoist. Also we provide aluminum cranes by Erikkila, a new Kito-Group member since 2017, which have strong corrosion-resistance with no painted surface. Economic and financial concerns make some industries cautious about heavy equipment investment, but along with the distribution and entertainment industries, the food industry is not. It's a sector where our customer base is growing along with our contribution to their performance.
Nov. 22.2019 12:55
I am an individual shareholder interested in the Yamanashi Plant tour. Tell me about the features of the plant.
Our main plant in Yamanashi produces chain hoists, which are our core products, among others. It's a comprehensive operation, from raw materials to final product assembly and inspection, including machining and assembly of parts. The tour is an opportunity for participants to see entire machine-production processes, namely die-casting, machining, heat-processing, coating and assembly, that are studied in university engineering courses, so we receive inquiries from institutions of higher learning as well. Having witnessed the processes involved in making a product, people on the tour often tell us at the end they feel Kito's commitment to manufacturing, or, as we would say it, building Kito quality as part of our effort to continually raise in-house productivity, and doing endurance testing at the limits of product performance. For individual shareholders we offer the tour twice a year, in spring and fall.
Nov. 07.2019 19:34
What are the financial results of the 1st Half (Apr.-Sept. 2019) announced today, November 7?
With continuing steady demand, as in the first quarter we are reporting sales and operating profit almost in line with our projection of the beginning of the fiscal year, although exchange-rate fluctuation reduced pretax and other profit figures. Our well balanced product portfolio for industry, catering to a broad range of demand in private-sector and infrastructure equipment investment in Japan and North America, powered our earnings despite persistent market uncertainty through the year. In China, rising workplace awareness about safety and quality helped us seize demand in performing industries and build market share. Pretax and other profits were below our initial projections due to exchange losses.
Nov. 07.2019 19:34
You have revised your projected results for the entire fiscal year. What are the factors behind this?
We made the revisions considering a softening economic trend worldwide and current strength of the yen. We plan to pay dividends as projected for the second half. More details at https://kito.com/ir/library
Oct. 17.2019 10:53
Tell us about Kito’s European operations.
Kito established its first European sales base in 2006. As a latecomer to this major international market, with its many competitors, we had to build out our product lines while raising the profile of the Kito brand there. To be a provider of one-stop solutions in materials-handling, from core hoist products to cranes and accessories, we have been adding local firms with strengths in these areas to the Group since 2016. That effort has built a strong foundation in terms of products and customer service, lately demonstrating new synergy with our four European subsidiaries. Taking advantage of these strengths, we are enhancing our European operations.
Sep. 30.2019 10:21
Will the October 1 increase in the consumption tax in Japan affect your operations?
At the moment we do not expect any last-minute surge in purchasing to avoid higher tax, so we do not project a demand dip on the rebound that would otherwise follow. The same was true with the previous increases in 1997 and 2014. This is because most of our customers are corporations, and consumers have only limited influence on our operations.
Sep. 13.2019 10:48
Why are machinery makers generally reluctant to enter the hoist market?
The hoist and crane market is a relatively small-niche market that carries the challenge of continuously supplying products that guarantee safety. That sets the bar high for outsiders to enter. Kito manufacturing is marked by a high ratio of in-house work in a comprehensive production process that ranges from hoist design to development, testing, manufacturing of chain and other core parts, and final assembly. By assuring the safety and durability of our products and parts from the design stage, we win customer trust.
Aug. 28.2019 12:48
I saw your press release on the new 1 ton CX manual chain hoist. Tell us about the features of this product.
The CX is a series of light, compact manual chain hoists. The new 1 ton model is very small and one of the lightest in Japan in its class, so it's easy to carry and install in high or narrow spaces. As the model broadens the application of hoists across the industrial spectrum, making transportation and operations easier, we hope to welcome new kinds of users. The complete line, including 250kg, 500kg and 1 ton CX hoists, will be widely available abroad as well as in Japan. More details at https://kito.com/story_en/story_id=4683
Aug. 27.2019 14:32
Tell us about the core industries of Kito end users.
Supplying durable and safe hoists and cranes, Kito fulfills universal needs in all industries handling heavy loads for a broad range of purposes, from private-sector equipment to public infrastructure. In recent years we have introduced our products to new sectors, including renewable energy and entertainment. Our large and diverse product portfolio assures us stable growth over the long term without depending on any specific industries or regions.
Aug. 07.2019 11:30
Are Kito's operations in China being influenced by trade conflict between the US and China?
While many machine manufacturers are being negatively affected by the US-China trade conflict, Kito's operations in China have been getting even better. Our business serves domestic demand, producing locally for local consumption, so we are not directly affected by exports from China to the US or the US tariff policy there. Due to the growing Chinese trend to value safety and quality, market share for Kito products, known for high quality and high safety, has been growing recently.
Aug. 06.2019 16:43
Today, August 6 in Japan, Kito announced its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 (April-June 2019). How were they?
Demand was strong in all regions, and we made the results as planned. First-quarter sales this year were smaller than those for Q1 2018 because in that quarter we booked about 700M yen in sales of crane systems in South Korea. Except for that effect in Asia, sales have been good in all regions since last fiscal year. We raised gross margin by cutting costs and a better product mix. Behind the lower operating profit is a change in the accounting schedule. More details at https://kito.com/ir/library
Jul. 01.2019 17:27
When will you make your financial results announcement of FY2019-Q1?
We plan to announce next financial results at 15:00 (JST) on August 6. We will disclose a tanshin report with explanatory slides in Japanese and English simultaneously.
Jun. 14.2019 10:59
While projecting another year of record-high sales and profit for fiscal 2019 overall, why are you predicting year-on-year decreases in both sales and profit for the first half, April to September?
We are projecting those decreases because of unusually high sales and profit due to special factors in the first half of fiscal 2018, and the corresponding figures for the first half of this year will be lower by comparison. The first special factor was the effect of the new IT infrastructure, which caused a temporary production glitch in fiscal 2017 and higher-than-usual figures for order balance and plant operation rates in the first half of fiscal 2018. Another special factor was a major crane project in South Korea, which was recorded in the first half of 2018. Demand remains strong, however, so we can project year-on-year growth in both sales and profit for fiscal 2019 overall.
May. 21.2019 19:08
What happened in the fiscal 2018 yearend financial briefing?
In the briefing we outlined our results for FY2018, which ended in March with all-time-high sales and profit, our plan to increase sales and profit in FY2019, and our progress with the medium-term business plan. In the Q&A session that followed, we took questions about demand trends in Japan, the US and China, industries with current growth potential, and Kito's direction and initiatives. The briefing is available for viewing via video streaming at https://kito.com/ir/library/presentation
May. 13.2019 16:43
We understand that Kito is projecting growth in both sales and profit for the fiscal year ending March 2020.
With continuing brisk demand, we expect to beat the records for sales and profit achieved in the previous fiscal year. In Japan and North America we see demand related to investment in private-sector equipment and public infrastructure remain strong. We work on building market share further in China, where Kito's high product quality is increasingly appreciated as safety-awareness rises. To meet strong demand in markets around the world, we are building out our global production and supply system and improving supply chains by transferring some production to our US and Asia bases. At home we are pushing forward with reforms in production processes at the Yamanashi Plant. More details at https://kito.com/ir/library
May. 13.2019 16:36
Tell us about Kito's financial results for the year ended March 2019, which you announced on May 13, today.
We made record-high sales and profit for the year due to globally strong demand related to equipment investment. In Japan and North America, demand related to infrastructure propelled our business forward and private-sector investment remained strong. Production growth through the year in response to strong demand contributed to profits. Joint effort with two new European subsidiaries made products more competitive. More details at https://kito.com/ir/library
Apr. 03.2019 15:29
When will you make your financial results announcement of FY2018 ended March 2019?
We plan to announce full year financial results at 15:00 (JST) on Monday 13, May. We will disclose a tanshin report with explanatory slides in Japanese and English simultaneously. We also plan to have video of the financial briefing a few days later, in both languages.
Apr. 03.2019 15:10
Why does Kito have its main plant in Yamanashi Prefecture?
Kito was founded in Tokyo's Omori district in 1932, and moved to Kawasaki during the war. With the steady expansion of residential housing in the neighborhood, the company found it difficult to increase its production capacity, so in 1983 built its main plant in the current location in Yamanashi Prefecture. It chose Yamanashi for its access to the Chuo expressway, which had just opened for east-west connections to Tokyo area, and a planned southbound expressway toward Pacific Ocean. Its large campus supports comprehensive operations, from raw material supply to parts production, product assembly and final testing. In-house production of the key parts on which our products depend for safety and durability results in high quality and value for our customers.