Message from the CFO
As of August, 2022
V-Shaped Recovery in Performance
In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022, Nikon recorded a significant improvement in performance after posting the largest loss in its 105-year history for the previous fiscal year, which was due partly to the impact of COVID-19. As a result of the completion of restructuring, centered on the Imaging Products Business, to achieve a lower breakeven point and the clarification of strategy for each business, revenue increased for the first time in nine years to ¥539.6 billion, while operating profit recorded a V-shaped recovery, coming in at ¥49.9 billion compared with an operating loss of ¥56.2 billion in the previous fiscal year.
Viewed by business segment, all segments were also able to achieve increases in both revenue and profit, despite a challenging business environment characterized by global shortages of parts, logistics constraints, and other adverse factors.
Sales volume actually declined in the Imaging Products Business, but the average selling price rose, due mainly to sales of high value-added mirrorless cameras, such as the Z 9 and Z fc, and lenses, resulting in both higher revenue and profit. In the Precision Equipment Business, sales of FPD lithography systems recorded a significant increase to 46 units, compared with 29 units in the previous fiscal year, while the service business, including semiconductor lithography systems, was also strong, leading to increases in both revenue and profit.
In the Components Business, sales of EUV-related components, encoders for robots, and other products rose, while in the Healthcare Business all three subsegments of Biological microscopes, Retinal diagnostic imaging systems, and Contract cell manufacturing performed well and posted record revenue. With the Industrial Metrology Business also seeing a recovery in revenue, all segments achieved significant increases in profits and became profitable.
Forecast for the Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2023
In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, we anticipate growth in revenue across all segments, and expect ¥620.0 billion for the Company as a whole. We expect ¥50.0 billion in operating profit, with increases in profits in the four segments other than the Precision Equipment Business. The forecast for profit attributable to owners of the parent is ¥38.0 billion.
As the first year of the new Medium-Term Management Plan, which targets revenue of ¥700.0 billion, operating profit of ¥70.0 billion or more (an operating margin of 10% or more), and ROE of 8% or more in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2026, we intend to make steady improvements in performance that will lead in turn to sustainable growth in the future.
Capital Allocation and Evaluation by Capital Markets
On April 7, 2022, Nikon announced a new Medium-Term Management Plan while simultaneously announcing a repurchase of up to 9.8% of its outstanding shares (excluding treasury stock), for an amount up to ¥30 billion. While explaining our future growth strategy to investors, we clarified our policy of enhancing shareholder returns by utilizing the cash proceeds of ¥59.2 billion through the sale of investment securities, including cross-shareholdings, over the previous two years.
As for the capital allocation policy in the Medium-Term Management Plan, our approach is to maintain the equity ratio at 55%-60% in order to ensure financial soundness, and we expect the source of funds for allocation of ¥700 billion over the next four years.
Nikon is a research and development-driven company, whose mission is to create things that do not yet exist in order to create a better world. We believe that strategic investment, R&D, and capital expenditures will be vital factors in achieving our 2030 vision of becoming "a key technology solutions company in a global society where humans and machines co-create seamlessly." For that reason, the capital allocation policy of the Medium-Term Management Plan is the principle of allocating around 90% of the source of funds to these areas.
Specifically, in R&D, funds will be earmarked for strengthening solutions and for growth drivers such as material processing and digital lithography, while capital expenditures will be allocated to increasing production of EUV-related components, Contract cell manufacturing, strengthening the base for manufacturing, promoting DX, and other areas.
In order to explain the Medium-Term Management Plan that is backed by this capital allocation policy, we held our first IR Day on May 26, 2022, the general managers responsible as heads of the various business units presented their business strategies under the Plan. In this way, we are engaged in dialogue with investors.
Combined with the improvement in performance, this approach also attracted a certain level of positive feedback from capital markets, and resulted in a recovery trend in the share price and market capitalization, and a more bullish investment stance among investors and analysts.
Sustainability Policy, TCFD, and Global Tax Policy
As a company listed on the Tokyo Prime Market, Nikon not only complies with all aspects of the corporate governance code but also listens seriously to the requests of various stakeholders, and takes action accordingly.
During the fiscal years of 2021 and 2022, the Board of Directors passed resolutions on a Sustainability Policy and a Global Tax Policy, and the Company disclosed "Climate-Related Risks and Opportunities" in its securities report, in accordance with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Furthermore, when formulating the Medium-Term Management Plan, the core operations of each business were discussed simultaneously as part of the sustainability strategy, and concrete measures were incorporated into the Plan.
Specific initiatives that are being implemented within the core businesses include helping to reduce the use of resources by developing new digital lithography that obviates the need for photomasks, supporting drug discovery by using microscopes for high-precision quality assessment of cells, and helping to raise energy efficiency and achieve a decarbonized society by using optical processing machines for fine surface processing of wind turbine blades or aircraft surfaces.
In addition to strengthening initiatives to address materialities in each field of business activity, environment, society/labor, and governance, Nikon will leverage core competencies such as opto-electronics and precision technologies to help bring about a sustainable society. We believe that such sustainability initiatives result in enhancing social and non-financial value, and that over a certain period of time this will lead to enhance financial value as expressed by ROE, share price, and market capitalization.
Going forward, we will continue to strive for the support of a wide range of stakeholders including investors, and use this support as a foundation on which to aim for sustainable growth.