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Yokohama Rubber's Value Creation Story

Yokohama Rubber's operation environment

Economic conditions

World

  • Slowdown in growth in China and emerging countries
  • Recovery trend in Europe
  • Economy stable in the US

→ Gradual recovery in the global economy

Japan

  • Continued improvements in employment and corporate profits as a result of factors such as the government's economic policy

→ Gradual recovery in the economy

Status of the tire industry

While the advance of yen depreciation has continued from last year and the prices of raw materials such as natural rubber and crude oil have fallen, the operating environment remains difficult due to intensifying price competition. We continued to respond by working to strengthen sales capabilities, improve operational efficiency, and reduce costs.

Exchange rates

* Monthly average foreign exchange rate (yen/dollar) Source: Bank of Japan

Natural rubber price

*No. RSS3 Month-end final price (US cent/kg) Source: Singapore Commodity Exchange

Crude oil price

*WTI month-end final price (USD/barrel) Source: New York Mercantile Exchange

The strategy of the medium-range management plan is executed based on future predictions in consideration of this situation and an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, risks, and opportunities.

Medium-range Management Plan Grand Design (GD100)

GD100 is the Yokohama Rubber Group's medium-range management plan that was started from 2006. With the vision of "we will evoke a distinctive global identity in building corporate value and in building a strong market presence" to mark the Yokohama Centennial in FY2017, net sales of 1 trillion yen, operating income of 100 billion yen, and an operating margin of 10% were set in FY2006 as the initial long-term financial targets for FY2017.

GD100 is separated into four phases of three years, and Phase III (nine years) was completed in FY2014. For Phase III from FY2012 to FY2014, while net sales of 1,800 billion yen, operating income of 150 billion yen, and an operating margin of 8.3% were set as the targets for three-year totals, the results were net sales of 1,786.6 billion yen, operating income of 165.4 billion yen, and an operating margin of 9.3%, meaning that while net sales fell short of the target, the target was exceeded for the other two benchmarks. Currently, we are working towards the targets for net sales of 770 billion yen, operating income of 80 billion yen, and an operating margin of 10.4% for Phase IV.

Phase IV: All for Growth

Phase IV (2015 to 2017) is the culmination of GD100 and is positioned as the phase for setting the stage for progress in our company’s second century and resolving issues that have arisen up until now based on the theme of "All for Growth—Open the way for the next 100 years by bring together the potential of Yokohama Rubber". We hope to bring together all forms of growth in our business activities, including the growth achieved each phase, growth of the Group overall, and individual growth. Net sales of 770 billion yen, operating income of 80 billion yen, and an operating margin of 10.4% were set as the quantitative targets for 2017.

We promise to create the value as we implement the GD100 strategy and provide value to society.

Value provided to stakeholders (Yokohama Rubber's Important Issues)

Development of technologies for a sustainable society

Receipt of the "Raifen 2014" Innovation Award for tire simulation technologies

Yokohama Rubber is actively pursuing the development of next-generation environmental technologies utilizing simulations. The hydraulic sound simulation technologies developed with Professor Kozo Fujii (Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science) received the grand prize "Innovation Award" in the field of "Technology/Products" at "Raifen 2014 (Germany)" that is one of the world's largest tire shows.
The tires became the first in the world to capture the noise that is generated from the air turbulence around tires that rotate on the road at nearly real scale. It is hoped that pursuing this technology will make the living environment better by decreasing noise from driving vehicles that are passing by and that lowering the air resistance of tires that are running will lead to further improvements in fuel efficiency performance.
Furthermore, as this technology can accurately simulate the flow of air around tires, proposals for concept tires such as fin tires are gaining much attention.

  • Figure 1: First in the world to capture the noise generated around tires when actual tires run

    Figure 1: First in the world to capture the noise generated around tires when actual tires run

  • Figure 2: Grand prize Innovation Award plaque in the field of Technology/Products

    Figure 2: Grand prize "Innovation Award" plaque in the field of "Technology/Products"

http://www.yrc.co.jp/release/?id=2257&lang=en&sp=20&year=2014

Development of new technologies for biomass-derived synthetic rubber (butadiene rubber)

Through joint research with the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Professor Toshihide Baba), we succeeded in developing catalysts that are composed of direct butadiene from cellulose (sugar that is the main component of plant fiber) that is a biomass (a biological resource).
Butadiene that is industrially produced from petroleum is used as a raw material for synthetic rubber (butadiene rubber) that serves as the raw material for automobile tires.
We will continue with catalyst design for mass production as we aim to achieve practical application with the first half of 2020 as a target. The development of this new technology will lead to a reduction in fossil fuel use and contribute to reductions in carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming.

Image of synthetic rubber (butadiene rubber) with biomass as a raw material

Four engineers awarded by the Society of Rubber Science and Technology, Japan for research in rubber technology

The "53rd Rubber Technology Merit Award" and "62nd Excelling Paper Award" from the Society of Rubber Science and Technology, Japan were received for rubber technology research by four of our engineers.
The "Rubber Technology Merit Award" recognizes technologies that have contributed to the industry among members through significant achievements that improve production technology related to the rubber and plastic industry, and it was received by only Asahiro Ahagon of Yokohama Rubber. The "Excelling Paper Award" recognizes particularly excellent papers published in the Society's journal over the past three years, and two papers from Naoya Amino, Masaki Sato, and Yasuhiro Ishikawa of Yokohama Rubber were selected from among 28 papers to receive this award.

Yokohama Rubber's prepreg for aircraft structures registered as a Future Technology Heritage

Our prepreg for aircraft structures was registered as Essential Historical Materials for Science and Technology (nicknamed: Future Technology Heritage) for FY2014 certified by the National Museum of Nature and Science in Taito Ward, Tokyo (registration number 00154). The conferment ceremony for the certificate of registration and commemoration plaque was held at the National Museum of Nature and Science in September.
Prepreg is a sheet of glass fiber and carbon fiber impregnated with resin that is layered in the prescribed shape and cured by heat to create fiber-reinforced plastic. The prepreg developed by our company in 1978 cleared the stringent quality control requirements of Boeing (US) and has been well received after being the first Japan-made materials certified as aircraft structure materials, and a prepreg sample from the time that still survives at the Hiratsuka Factory (Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture) that is the production base for the product became the registered heritage.
During FY2014, 49 items were registered as Future Technology Heritage, and there is now a total of 184 registered items.

Future Technology Heritage commemoration plaque and certificate of registration

Development of colorless and highly transparent blue light cut film that is ideal for applications such as tablet devices

We have developed "YF-R Series" film that is colorless, transparent to enable reproduction without losing the original color of the liquid crystal display while cutting (damping) blue light that is emitted from LED light sources used in the backlight of liquid crystal displays. It is the world's first technology that can effectively cut the overall wavelength area of blue light with a colorless and transparent film. As it is easy on the eyes and easily reproduces natural colors, we aim to promote use for tablet devices, PCs, and smartphones.

"Urban Roof NX-3 Method" for urethane coating waterproof materials

Our "Urban Roof NX-3 Method" waterproof materials for buildings, apartments, etc. acquired a verification number in the FY2014 Environmental Technology Verification Project (ETV) on Heat-Island Mitigation Technologies conducted by the Ministry of the Environment. The Environmental Technology Verification Project is a project that promotes the spread of environmental technology among local public organizations and companies through evaluation tests on advanced environmental technologies that are recruited and the objective verification of the environmental conservation effects.
With the acquisition of the verification number, we will make more active proposals to businesses including contractors and design offices active in heat-island mitigation in addition to our original clients.
These demonstration results have been released on the "List of Demonstrated Technologies" on the website of the Ministry of the Environment.

*Urban Roof NX-3 Method
"Primer U-300KZ" is used as an undercoating material, the low-thermal-conductivity urethane rubber waterproof material "Urban Roof NX" is used as middle coating, and highly-reflective "Urban Top H Thermal Insulation" paint for the paint finish.
In addition to the heat-island mitigation effects, because of its low-specific-gravity (specific gravity of 1.0), longer building life is achieved as it makes lower-weight buildings possible and CO2 emissions kept low at the time of shipment. Furthermore, it is an environmentally-friendly product as it does not contain any harmful organic solvents such as benzene, toluene, or xylene.