Mitsubishi books almost $4bn in commodities-related write-downs

Commodities giant Mitsubishi Corp became Thursday the second Japanese trading house this week to report huge write-downs and a likely first annual loss ever, echoing Mitsui & Co’s warning on the effect of weak commodity prices.

Japan’s biggest trader said it expected to book an impairment charge of $3.8 billion (430 billion yen) mainly on its metals and energy businesses, which will lead to a net loss of $1.3 billion (150bn yen) in fiscal 2015.

About $2.5 billion of the total write-down was on its stake in Chilean copper business Anglo American Sur. 

This would be the Tokyo-based firm first loss since it was established in 1954 and a setback from the $3.6bn (400.5bn yen) in net income logged the previous year.

About $2.5 billion of the total write-down was on its stake in Chilean copper mining and smelting company Anglo American Sur, Mitsubishi said.

As most oil and mining companies, the firm has been caught off guard by steep falls in the prices of all commodities, from iron ore and copper to oil as China's economic growth has slowed.

President Ken Kobayashi said he is taking a 50% pay cut while all other executives have had bonuses scrapped, but the company kept to its annual dividend forecast of 50 yen per share.