TOKYO, JAPAN – Marubeni on Feb. 7 posted a record net profit for its recent nine-month period but warned of a potential impairment loss in its U.S. grain business.

Nobuhiro Yabe, chief financial officer at Marubeni, said in a news conference that the Japanese trading house’s grain business has been hampered by low grain prices and trading volumes during the United States’ trade war with China, which began in July.

“As trade volume declined, competition became more fierce and weighed on the margins of our grain businesses,” he said.

Nobuhiro said the situation could improve if the United States and China strike a trade deal.

Marubeni owns Gavilon, Columbia Grain International and Pacificor in the United States. The grain is procured by Gavilon and Columbia Grain, and through Pacificor’s shipping facilities, exported to Japan and other countries around the world.

In its food segment, gross trading profit increased $546.6 million (0.6%) year on year to $95.6 billion, driven mainly by consolidation of a U.S. beef processing/sales subsidiary acquired in the previous fiscal year. Net profit for the period was down $20.1 billion (57.0%) year on year to $15.2 billion, partly reflecting the fact that profit in the year‐earlier period was boosted by U.S. tax reform.

He said the company projected its overall full-year profit (through March 31) to reach a record $2.09 billion. Marubeni already has reached 95% of its annual profit guidance.

Its net profit for the most recent nine-month period rose 33% over the same period a year ago, boosted by stronger income from its transportation, energy, paper and pulp segments.