The following "New Year Message 2015" was addressed to all officers and employees by President Masami Iijima.
Happy New Year.
Reflection and anticipation at the start of 2015
For me, the start of every year is a time for reflection and anticipation. Here at the start of 2015, the outlook for the global economy is mainly positive, despite geopolitical problems in some areas and volatility in commodity markets. Globalization is continuing to draw us closer together, and it has become clear that when countries share closer links they also share deeper responsibilities.
In 2014 we passed some important milestones on the road to a new Mitsui. In May we announced our New Medium-term Management Plan; in September we launched our new corporate logo and slogan; and in November we moved into new offices in Tokyo so that construction could begin on our new headquarter building.
Our New Medium-term Management Plan was received very positively inside and outside the company. People understood our seven key strategic domains, they saw the value in our ability to make connections, and they liked our strategy of using robust cash flow to fund new investment and returns to shareholders. We supported this confident message by showing solid financial performance for the first half of the fiscal year, with high levels of net income, EBITDA and cash flow.
Today I want to talk about two things that will allow us to face the years ahead with even more confidence: strengthening our individual capabilities to compete powerfully as an organization, and seeking innovation by broadening our partnership base.
Strengthening our individual capabilities to compete as an organization
First, let me talk about individual strengths.
Effective organizations are made by effective individuals. Each of us has to adopt a mindset of humble review, considering how we can improve our individual effectiveness, so that together we can become more effective as an organization.
In my New Year message last year, I spoke about delivering on expectations and getting results. Our New Medium-term Management Plan is centered on the same thing: getting results from existing and pipeline projects while pursuing new investments in our seven key strategic domains. To achieve this we need to be strongly aware of the expectations placed on us in each project.
In the same way that we bring individual people together to create an effective organization, we have to bring individual projects together to create strong results for the entire company. This requires a willingness to make and learn from mistakes. But through this process we can demonstrate our business engineering capabilities and become even more competitive. Please think about this in your day-to-day work.
Innovating by broadening our partnership base
My second point is about finding innovation by broadening our partnership base.
With the word innovation, we usually think of new technology, such as blue LEDs, or new ideas at a business contest. But innovation at Mitsui is not limited to technology and ideas. I believe that we can innovate in the way we link one business with another and create new value. And that is exactly what we mean by 360° business innovation.
There are examples of this everywhere in Mitsui. In the shale gas value chain we have developed peripheral businesses based on partnerships in the energy, electricity, and chemicals industries. In mining-related business we are looking to improve efficiency along the entire value chain by collaborating with partners to combine technology and knowledge on ICT. The possibilities are endless.
The key driver of business innovation is our ability to make connections. And the source of that ability is our broad base of trusted customers and partners. These relationships are absolutely critical, because when people trust us they call us first with new opportunities.
It's very simple. If more partners trust us, more partners want to work with us. It all depends on the relationships you build in your work every day.
Mitsui & Co. as a brand
Before I finish, I want to remind everyone about how these two themes of individual capabilities and broad partnerships relate to our brand.
The heart of Mitsui & Co.'s value, has always been 'people.' Instead of burying people in our organization, we empower people to take on challenges and create innovations. As I said earlier, the connections you make as people create innovative businesses and new value for the world. We connect people and nations. We connect information and ideas. And based on our global partnerships, we connect our customers with what they need.
Our brand symbolizes everything we are doing to build a better future for people and planet.
Three years and three days
In my New Year address at the start of 2010, soon after I became CEO, I said that for us to become more respected as a company we must each strive for excellence in our day-to-day activities. This is still true today. We must always improve so that our customers always choose to do business with us.
In Japan we say that it takes three long years to build a castle but only three short days to knock one down. We must never forget that the same is true for Mitsui & Co.'s reputation.
People are our greatest asset, and there is no doubt that by improving as people we can improve our company. You are the people whose spirit of challenge and innovation will lead us to a bright future.
Thank you for joining me today. I wish you and your families health and happiness in the year ahead.