The Chemicals Division conducts a wide variety of trading and businesses, ranging from basic chemicals, such as methanol, to functional materials focusing on plastic resins as well as inorganic chemicals like industrial salts and rare earths. We are also developing businesses in the environmental and life science fields to contribute to building a low-carbon, recycling-oriented society.
Strengths of the Division
- ●Wide variety of products, materials, and business proposal capabilities for upstream, midstream, and downstream areas
- ●Extensive customer network of over 5,000 companies around the world
- ●Top-level business scale and name recognition among general trading companies
- ●Operational know-how accumulated through gas chemical business
- ●Plastic resin business with a global sales and procurement network
- ●Business expertise in the C5 and petroleum resin business value chain
- ●Large share and stable supply of Indian-sourced industrial salt in the Asian market
- ●Rising global demand for chemicals accompanying economic growth in emerging countries
- ●Supply chain changes to be seen after the COVID-19 pandemic
- ●Development and production of new materials in response to progress and advancement of eco-friendly needs at the global level
- ●Social pressure directed toward petrochemical products as part of transition to low-carbon society
- ●Pressure on business revenue due to volatile market conditions and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates
- ●Supply-related risks accompanying rapid demand fluctuations to be seen during post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery (difficulty securing supplies, stressed distribution, etc.)
The lockdowns and other activity restrictions implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in production halts and reduced production volumes at automobile and other factories. This situation caused declines in demand for resins and other chemical products, driving down selling prices and thus having a heavy impact on the Chemicals Division. Going forward, we will continue to carefully monitor these trends. At the same time, we will turn our attention to the changes in the operating environment, given that demand is expected to spike when conditions begin to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, in order to take advantage of the earnings opportunities and fulfill our supply obligations.
The Chemicals Division has defined three strategies for pursuing long-term earnings leading up to 2030. These strategies are to transition from petrochemicals to biomass-derived chemicals, contribute to the creation of a recycling-oriented society through recycling and other businesses, and cater to demand for health foods and other healthcare products. Guided by these strategies, we are investing in businesses in the life science field to move away from our prior tradeoriented operations in this field, which focused on health foods, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics materials, and toward solutions-oriented operations, which will involve the development, production, and sale of new materials. In addition, we are utilizing new technologies in the environment field to develop new businesses related to biochemicals and chemical recycling.
Furthermore, Sojitz is investing in start-ups and other companies with promising technologies. For example, we have acquired stakes in Green Earth Institute Co., Ltd., a company that boasts biomass-derived chemical production technologies, and JEPLAN, INC., a company possessing chemical recycling technologies. Through devoted efforts in collaboration with partners boasting superior technological and strategy execution capabilities, the Chemicals Division will help realize a decarbonized society.
C5 and petroleum resin (U.S.)(Cymetech Corporation)
Industrial salt (India)
■Environment and Life Science Businesses
In the healthcare field, the Chemicals Division aims to incorporate growth from the domestic and Asian markets as well as from the large U.S. and European markets. To this end, we have begun creating frameworks through M&A activities targeting synergies with existing businesses. Examples of these M&A activities include investments in material manufacturers in the field of foods with function claims offering products boasting benefits for combating lifestyle diseases and dementia as well as investments in manufacturers of hemanalysis systems and research reagents. Through these investments, we plan to develop new businesses that take advantage of testing data. Elsewhere, we are developing functional fertilizers that help address issues related to microplastics through collaboration with fertilizer manufacturers in the agri-product field.
■Plastic Resin Business
(Sojitz Pla-Net/Pla Matels)
The Chemicals Division is developing businesses in three growth fields that contribute to the environment as well as to communities. These fields are food packaging, green plastics and recycling, and nextgeneration automotive components. In the food packaging field, we are supplying items that address changing lifestyles in Europe and the United States while also introducing these items into China and other Asian markets. Meanwhile, the insight and inter-personal networks we have developed in environmental and recycling fields are being utilized to accelerate recycling field initiatives related to green polyethylene, biomass, and marine biodegradable resins. We are also offering one-stop service for resins and electronics manufacturing services in relation to automotive components. Through these various initiatives, we will pursue balanced increases in the value of Sojitz Pla-Net Corporation and Pla Matels Corporation.
Visit Sojitz’s special page on green polyethylene here
■European Chemical Businesses
(solvadis deutschland gmbh)
Acquired in 2017, solvadis deutschland gmbh is a chemical marketing and distribution company with a long history that has helped us maintain a stable flow of transactions for sulfur, sulfuric acid, methanol, and liquid chemicals even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At this company, we are strengthening and differentiating distribution functions in Europe and bolstering transaction volumes while also taking advantage of Sojitz’s network to engage in joint initiatives with competitive chemical manufacturers in other regions.
Transition from Petrochemicals to Sustainable Biomass-Derived Chemicals
Development of Biomass-Derived Chemicals
The Chemicals Division develops and supplies biomass-derived chemicals to help reduce CO2 emissions and resolve environmental issues. We have been dealing in green polyethylene (plastic derived from sugarcane) for about a decade, and we are rapidly developing and expanding our lineup of other biomass-derived chemicals.
In addition, we concluded an agreement with Brazil’s Braskem S.A. in March 2022 to establish a joint venture company for advancing the joint development of technologies for producing biomass-derived monoethylene glycol (MEG) and monopropylene glycol (MPG). Based on this agreement, we plan to construct a total of three commercial plants in Brazil, with the first scheduled to commence operation in 2025.
As we produce biomass-derived MEG as a substitute for petrochemicals through this joint venture company, we will also pursue synergies with the isobutane (IBA) production and development being advanced together with Green Earth Institute Co., Ltd., in which we acquired a stake in June 2021, to produce polyethylene terephthalate 100% derived from biomass. Further contributions to decarbonization and social sustainability will be made by creating MPG, a chemical used in cosmetics, from plants.