TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Japanese trading house Itochu Corp said on Thursday that it may book an impairment loss on its stake in its Namisa iron ore mine in Brazil in the January-March quarter, the latest in a series of write-down warnings amid slumping resource prices.
The company, however, kept its annual net profit outlook of 300 billion yen ($2.56 billion) for the year that ends March 31, as solid non-resource operations offset poor resource segments.
Like global oil majors and miners, Japan’s trading companies have been caught flat-footed by the rout in commodities, with oil down more than 50 percent and iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI falling about 40 percent since the middle of last year.
Earlier this week, Sumitomo Corp warned of further write-downs on its resource assets while Mitsubishi Corp and Mitsui & Co Ltd booked an impairment loss of 35 billion yen and 48 billion yen respectively on their energy assets for the last quarter.
Itochu also wrote down 8 billion yen in the value of its stake in Samson oil and gas project in the United States, following a 5-billion-yen write-down on the same asset in the July-September quarter.
“We can’t rule out the possibility of write-down on our stake in an iron ore mine in Brazil as the mine is revising its production plan,” Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Tadayuki Seki told a news conference on its earnings.
He declined to comment on the size of the possible writedown, but said the latest book value of the stake is about 150 billion yen.
Seki also said its stake in Colombia’s Drummond coal mine will fall below the current 20 percent as it has decided late last year not to take up its rights in the miner’s share issue, which would dilute its shareholding.
For the April-December period, Itochu eked out a 2.5 percent gain in net profit to 231 billion yen as non-resource segments such as machinery and life-style earned a record profit.
$1 = 117.2000 yen Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Sunil Nair