Reviewing the 2005 business year, I am pleased to report that the earning power of Marubeni America Corporation (“MAC”) has continued to improve.Though the profit-after- tax declined from the previous year due to some impair- ment losses, our gross profit was a historical record high of $544 million in 2005. In addition MAC has achieved its medium term strategic target, as set in Marubeni Corpora- tion’s “V-Plan” (Marubeni’sTurnaround Plan - FY2003, 2004, 2005). As a result, a firm foothold was built in both revenue base and financial strength. Furthermore MAC’s balance sheet is now quite healthy, and the number of underper- forming assets has been significantly reduced.
The “G-Plan” (Growth and Glory - FY2006, 2007) has now been launched focusing Marubeni towards further achievement. In 2006, our most important and immediate focus is to develop new business and expand our well-per- forming assets. In that regard, MAC has made great efforts towards major new investments and is planning to finalize significant acquisitions within this year. Also, in all of our business units, new business opportunities are being de- veloped continuously. Such initiatives will set the stage for MAC to renew the historical high record of its profit-after- tax during the two year “G-Plan” period.
MAC will also strive for an even higher level of qual- ity: this will enhance the perception and reputation of our company internally and externally. We will continue our efforts to further enhance our already solid company man- agement with increased focus on internal control systems, compliance, risk management, tax planning and corporate culture. MAC must be healthy both financially and organi- zationally to realize sustainable prosperity.
We look forward to the opportunities and challenges in 2006, as MAC enters a period of accelerated growth. Our upcoming accomplishments will not only make us a stronger hub of Marubeni Corporation’s North American operation but also will enable MAC to be the strongest it has ever been.
Michio Kuwahara President & Chief Executive Officer