The 2014 All-Japan Research Team: Chemicals, No. 1: Mikiya Yamada
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The 2014 All-Japan Research Team: Chemicals, No. 1: Mikiya Yamada

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< The 2014 All-Japan Research Team

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Mikiya Yamada Barclays First-Place Appearances: 1


Total Appearances: 8


Analyst Debut: 2006 At No. 1 for the first time is Barclays analyst Mikiya Yamada, who advances from second place in part because "he knows technologies best among the chemicals analysts and is very friendly," according to one fund manager. Yamada, 49, is neutral on Japanese chemicals shares, which fell by 9.7 percent year to date through mid-March, compared with the broad market's 11 percent decline. "The industry faces some serious headwinds," he says, "such as a growth slowdown in Asia and China, a disadvantageous feedstock position versus natural gas, relative to the U.S. or Middle East players, and diminishing growth expectations in electronics materials, in which some Japanese chemical makers have been performing very well since the 1980s." The biggest names in the group, however, are adapting. "Financial leverage has largely come down to a globally competitive level; domestic commodities production facilities are being rationalized; and the most basic chemicals expansions over the past ten years have been overseas, where the companies are likely able to enjoy better infrastructure," explains Yamada. No wonder then that his top pick this year is one of the majors: Tokyo-based Asahi Kasei Corp., which manufactures films, petrochemicals, resins and rubbers. He recommended buying Asahi in early December, at ¥806, and although the shares had traded down to ¥681 by mid-March, he advises taking a long-term view. "We are expecting the company to report all-time-high profits for two straight years," the analyst notes, "and we are expecting profit additions, or ‘harvesting,' from previous investments lasting through March 2016." Yamada joined Barclays in 2008 after covering this sector at J.P. Morgan and then Lehman Brothers. He previously tracked metals stocks for Goldman Sachs Japan Co. and worked as a financial planning manager at Dow Chemical Co. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry from Miyagi's Tohoku University.


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