For fiscal year 2018, sales in our mainstay Air Conditioning business grew in the major regions of Japan, the Americas, Asia, and Europe, whereas sales in China, where the economy is sluggish, remained on par with the previous year.
In the Chemical business, sales of high value-added materials, including fluoropolymers for the semiconductor market and fluoropolymers and fluoroelastomers for the automotive market, expanded in each region of the world.
In terms of profit, we overcame soaring market prices for raw materials and currency depreciation in emerging countries by flexibly implementing measures in response to changes in business conditions. These measures included sales expansion, launch of high value-added products, and total cost reductions. As a result, both revenue and profit increased for the ninth consecutive term, and we were able to achieve record highs in sales and operating profit for the sixth consecutive fiscal year.
Despite strong dynamics in the United States, the future for the global economy is expected to become increasingly more challenging and uncertain due to such factors as the impact of the China-U.S. trade friction and start of an adjustment phase for the semiconductor cycle.
Additionally, the Chinese economy is expected to remain unpredictable.
In this environment, I believe it is necessary to understand conditions in even greater detail than before regarding economic trends, fluctuations in exchange rates and markets, and tendencies of competing companies and maintain a flexible stance that implements measures in a timely manner.
By formulating challenging measures that lead to a stronger management constitution and higher earnings, we will be establishing specific measures to minimize the impact should the business environment suddenly deteriorate. In other words, we will respond utilizing our offensive and defensive capabilities as the situation dictates.
Due to strong financial results, we plan to pay an annual dividend of 160 yen per share (interim dividend of 70 yen and year-end dividend of 90 yen), which represents a 20-yen increase from the currently announced. For fiscal 2019, we plan an annual dividend of 160 yen per share (interim dividend of 80 yen and year-end dividend of 80 yen). In the future, we will continue to expand our business while implementing strategic investments as we work to enhance corporate value, raise market capitalization, and improve return on investment to shareholders by building a robust corporation constitution that leverage higher financial results and structural reforms.
For now and in the future, I respectively ask for your continued understanding and support of Daikin management.
President and CEO
Daikin Industries, Ltd.
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