The NAGASE Group has built its business on a foundation in chemicals and today handles merchandise that supports many facets of everyday life. Although our Group is focused in the chemical trading field, it also commands capabilities in manufacturing, processing, and research and development, and has flexibly adapted its business model by staying abreast of modern trends. Moreover, it has strengthened its business in food materials, is moving forward with the development of an AI-driven system for the discovery of new chemical materials, and continues to expand into new fields of endeavor.
In fiscal 2018, we posted new records for net sales and operating income for the second consecutive year. We have made steady progress toward the goals of our ACE-2020 five-year mid-term management plan—now in its fourth year—and have put together aggressive new strategies for the life & health-care and electronics fields in which we have focused fresh energy. Although the market environment and international developments have clouded the future outlook, we are determined to achieve the goals of ACE-2020.
In recent years, environmental pressures and climate change have confronted the world with a growing array of challenges, including shortages of food and water. In view of society's heightened interest in the United Nations' sustainable development goals (SDGs), the NAGASE Group has unveiled a set of sustainability-oriented business policies and, as a corporate group, aims to contribute to sustainable growth and continue delivering value that leads to the creation of a better society.
Conscientiously maintaining the highest standards of integrity is one element of the NAGASE Group business philosophy. Backed by this principle, we are committed to making social contributions through the advancement of our own business. This commitment will continue to serve as the foundation for our corporate operations. With that spirit permanently in mind, we will continue to set higher targets and work to meet the expectations of all stakeholders. We request your continued support as we move forward on that quest.
Representative Director and President