2024 New Year’s Message from President and CEO Mitsugu Yamaguchi

January 5, 2024

Kobe Steel, Ltd.

We would like to offer our deepest sympathies to all those affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake on January 1, 2024 and pray for the earliest possible recovery.

Looking Back at 2023

Four years have passed since the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus. In May last year, the Japanese government downgraded COVID-19 to Category 5 (the same category as seasonal influenza) under the infectious disease prevention law, giving the green light for the nation to return to normalcy. As the world has once again recovered its lively energy, I have traveled both domestically and internationally more often over the past year. It gave me immense pleasure to finally meet with members of our Group in person. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to each of you for your dedicated efforts in daily operations.

Changes in the Business Environment

While our lives are now back to normal, our Group’s business environment is constantly changing. Against the backdrop of the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war, the outbreak of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rising prices along with soaring energy prices, and the global efforts toward decarbonization, the demands of society are becoming increasingly stringent.

In such a rapidly changing environment, it is necessary to use our imagination and respond flexibly to daily changes, and because of that, you may find yourself in a trouble that you have never experienced before. At such times, it is important to return to our Group Corporate Philosophy and, as I often say, seek a solution by communicating with your managers, co-workers, and subordinates. By doing so, you will surely find a way forward.

Complete the Current Medium Term and Move on to the Next

The current medium-term management plan, which started in fiscal 2021, was launched with a focus on two priority issues: (1) Establishing a stable earnings base, and (2) Taking on the challenge of realizing carbon neutrality. In terms of earnings, we are steadily achieving results; consolidated ordinary profit exceeded 100 billion yen in fiscal 2022 for the first time in eight years and is expected to reach 145 billion yen in fiscal 2023. In addition, we have made steady progress in taking on the challenge of realizing carbon neutrality, including the demonstration of CO2 reduction technologies in our own ironmaking process by charging a large quantity of HBI into the blast furnace, and the contribution to global reduction of CO2 emissions by expanding MIDREX® business. However, we must not settle for these results or become complacent before moving on to the next stage.

With the next medium-term management plan, we will make a fresh start for establishing a business entity that will drive innovation into the future. Bearing in mind that our Group’s true value will be assessed from now on, we will move forward aiming for even greater heights.

My Wishes

Here, I would like to share my wishes for the new year. As I mentioned earlier, the current medium-term management plan has generally progressed smoothly owing to the focused efforts of all employees. However, we still have a long way to go in terms of safety and compliance, which are the cornerstones of the corporate sustainable development that take priority over everything else. I would like to ask everyone to reflect on their own awareness and actions, as well as to ensure safety and follow the rules thoroughly.

In Closing

The year 2024 is the year of the dragon. Since ancient times, it has been said to be the year when everything vibrates, grows vigorously, and takes shape. Let's make this a year in which our Group solidifies its foundation and grow significantly toward the future.

I would like to end my New Year’s greetings by hoping that 2024 will be a prosperous year for all of our Group employees and their families. Please stay safe and healthy.

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