NOK is a manufacturer of independent auto components and boasts 50% of the share of the global oil seal market. On October 21, the company announced that it was revising its earnings estimates upwards: operating profit for the April through September 2015 fiscal period is slated to reach 25.8 billion yen, or three times that for the same period this year.
One of the drivers behind this growth was electronic components – specifically, the flexible printed circuits (FPC) its subsidiary Nippon Mektron produces. FPCs are thin and flexible circuit boards that are being deployed in a wide range of small-format digital devices like mobile phones, computers, and digital still cameras; Nippon Mektron has the top share of the market for FPCs worldwide. The company has enjoyed growth through increased orders from Apple.
Enjoying a surge in demand for iPhones
Nippon Mektron appears on Apple’s publicized yearly list of suppliers. The steady returns posted for the April-September period are owed to mass production of FPCs to meet demand for the iPhone 6. However, there are still issues: although FPCs for Apple entail high volume, that volume can fluctuate, meaning operating the plant at a stable capacity is difficult. For this reason, Nippon Mektron is actively pursuing new business opportunities with Chinese smartphone manufacturers.