I would like to begin by expressing my deepest sympathies to those affected by COVID-19 and my sincere condolences to families who have lost loved ones. I would also like to express my sincere respect and gratitude to all those working to prevent and treat infectious diseases, and who support society in various ways during these difficult times.
In 2020, the virus triggered a rapid contraction in the global economy, severely affecting the Japanese as well as overseas economies. Although measures to prevent the infection from spreading were rolled out in the second half of the year, and despite signs of recovery, the outlook remains uncertain.
Under these circumstances, Kureha safeguarded the stability and continuity of operations by prioritizing the creation of a safe working environment for our employees and by taking action to prevent infections. Our efforts include shifting to a production and sales structure designed to minimize infection risk.
Consequently, the impact on results was minor. Revenue increased year on year by 1.5% to 144,575 million yen due to increased sales of vinylidene fluoride resin and expansion in the environmental business. Operating income decreased 4.3% year on year to 17,263 million yen, while income before income taxes decreased by 1.1% to 17,748 million yen. Profit attributable to the owners of Kureha decreased by 1.6% year on year to 13,493 million yen. The year-end dividend remains 85 yen per share as planned.
As a company driven by innovation, Kureha has under the mid-term management plan Kureha's Challenge 2020 (hereinafter "KC2020") sought to develop differentiated products in the specialty chemicals field and become a high value-added company that continually contributes to society.
However, we recognize that the management goals outlined in KC2020 have yet to be fulfilled to a satisfactory degree, with the exception of the strengthening of the PVDF business. KC2020 has therefore been extended by two years, becoming the mid-term management plan Kureha's Challenge 2022 (Mid-term Stretch Final Stage). The management goals of the extended plan are to expand the Advanced Materials Segment, optimize existing businesses, explore and develop new streams of revenue, and strengthen our management foundations. To achieve these goals, we will instill a "follow through" attitude in our corporate culture as we formulate specific goals and action plans to achieve sustainable growth for the future. In addition, we will nurture new businesses that contribute to resolving social issues with differentiated products and technologies, including carbon-neutral solutions.
Through these measures, we will continue to enhance our market presence as a technology-based company, and aim to become a high value-added company that continues to make lasting contributions toward a sustainable society.
We thank our shareholders and investors for their continued support and confidence in us as we move toward our goals.
June 2021Yutaka Kobayashi, President & Chief Executive Officer