By  on October 30, 2008

TOKYO — Kao Corp. reported first-half net profits this week that were up 10.5 percent year-on-year to 32.4 billion yen, or $304.4 million at average exchange.

Operating profits at the beauty, personal care and chemicals firm, which owns the John Frieda and Kanebo brands, dropped 1.5 percent to 54.7 billion yen, or $515.6 million, in the six-month period ended Sept. 30, while sales rose 0.5 percent to 657.9 billion yen, or $6.2 billion, coming in “slightly lower” than forecast in April, the company stated.

“Kao Group’s performance was impacted by increases in raw material prices exceeding its forecast and cooling consumer sentiment,” the company stated. “However, the Kao Group concentrated on launches of high-value-added products, sales price adjustments, cost reduction activities and cutbacks in expenditures.”

Sales at Kao’s beauty care division dropped 3.7 percent to 300.1 billion yen, or $2.83 billion. Prestige cosmetics sales were down 4.7 percent to 146.8 billion yen, or $1.38 billion.

For its full fiscal year, Kao forecast that its net profits will rise 3.7 percent to 69 billion yen, or $711.3 million at current exchange; operating profits will increase by 0.6 percent to 117 billion yen, or $1.2 billion, and sales will inch up 0.9 percent to 1.33 trillion yen, or $13.71 billion.

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