Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for your continued support of IBIDEN CO., LTD. and the IBIDEN Group.
During the first half of the consolidated fiscal year under review, the world economy generally remained robust as the U.S. economy showed steady moves and there were signs of bottoming out in the European market, although there has been an indication of a slowdown in the economic growth of emerging countries. The Japanese economy remained on a slow recovery track thanks to a gradual recovery in consumer spending and exports following proactive economic policies of the government and the Bank of Japan.
In the semiconductor/electronic components industry, while smartphones and tablet-type devices continued to enjoy a high rate of growth, the driving force is gradually shifting to medium- and low-priced products. In addition, demand for personal computers (PCs) remains weak. As seen above, the environment surrounding our business continued to be difficult. In the automotive exhaust system components industry, automobile sales in the North American and Chinese markets were strong, although the European market remained sluggish.
Under these circumstances, the IBIDEN Group strived to reinforce its revenue base by launching its consolidated medium-term management plan “Challenge IBI-TECHNO 105 Plan” and move forward aggressively with reforms to its business structure while globally implementing its original improvement initiatives. Specifically, in the Electronics Operation, we stabilized mass production quality by systematically implementing preparations and smoothly moving forward with a shift to new products, amid keen competition to develop new products. Also, in the Ceramics Operation, we could steadfastly move forward with cost reductions in overseas production bases. As a result, both net sales and operating income grew year on year.
With regard to the future outlook, in both the Electronics Operation and the Ceramics Operation, in addition to continued uncertainty about the market environment, global competition among corporations is expected to further intensify. The IBIDEN Group will aim for the next stage of growth and progress by intensively putting its management resources into electronic components for smartphones and tablet-type devices, which are continuing to grow, and ceramic products conforming to next-generation environmental regulations. In addition, we will strive to boost our onsite capabilities and further enhance the competitiveness of our core operations by thoroughly reinforcing our capabilities for total productive management and management of technology.
We thank you for your continued support and understanding of the Group.
President & CEO