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Ashida wants MOL to roar in Year of Tiger

Ashida wants MOL to roar in Year of Tiger

Tokyo: In his traditional New Year message MOL president Akimitsu Ashida urges MOL employees to adopt a more proactive stance during the current economic difficulties in order to restore the company to financial health.

The company returned to the black in third quarter 2009, after suffering a Yen14.8bn loss in the first quarter, but its forecasted full-year earnings for FY 2009 ending March 2010 are only Yen10bn, compared to Yen204.5bn for FY 2008 and Yen302.2bn for FY 2007. He therefore sets a target of the company regaining a level of at least Yen100bn in ordinary income despite the current economic 'rough  seas,' which he warns 'may easily become more turbulent.'

MOL has already cut back on its expansion plans. Originally it planned to increase its fleet by 140 ships in the 18 months after the crisis broke but by scrapping older vessels and redelivery of chartered vessels has kept it to the same size of around 900 vessels. Around 150 new ships are due to deliver over the next three years, a total Ashida says he is 'fully confident' MOL can absorb as it continues picking up speed after the slowdown.

In the badly hit containership business MOL has achieved cost savings  of Yen46bn by organisational restructuring and measures such as  scrapping, redelivery, lay-ups and slow steaming, Ashida informs.

The MOL president ends by taking the fact that the group's HQ is located in Toranomon - which in English means 'gate  of the tiger' (of the Imperial Palace) - as an auspicious sign for  the coming Year of the Tiger. It can also be 'the Year of MOL' if  employees 'roar' and 'act fearlessly' in current difficult  conditions, he says, adding that the thinking behind the New Year  message will be incorporated into a new mid-term management plan to  start this April.  [04/01/10]