TOKYO — Kao Corp. said Thursday that its net income jumped 35.6 percent in the first six months of its fiscal year, boosted by increased sales of its consumer products in Asia and decreased costs of petrochemical raw materials, among other factors.
The Japanese beauty giant’s net profit in the six months ended June 30 totaled 50 billion yen, or $448 million, while its operating profit grew 26.6 percent to 81.1 billion yen, or $726.6 million.
Kao posted 0.4 percent growth in first-half net sales to 699.53 billion yen, or $6.27 billion.
Dollar figures are calculated at average exchange rates for the period in question.
Kao said that while the Japanese and global economies recovered moderately, weakness was still apparent in some Asian countries.
“The household and personal-care products market in Japan, a key market for the Kao Group, grew 3 percent on a value basis, and consumer purchase prices remained flat compared with the same period a year earlier. The cosmetics market in Japan grew 1 percent, excluding [demand from visitors to Japan],” the company stated.
Kao’s beauty-care segment, which includes such brands as Kanebo, Molton Brown, Bioré, Jergens and John Frieda, saw its first-half net sales increase 1.6 percent to 292.7 billion yen, or $2.62 billion. Excluding currency effects, growth stood at 4.8 percent.
Geographically speaking, Kao saw its net sales increase in Japan and elsewhere in Asia, but contract in Europe and the Americas. Domestically, net sales to foreign customers made up 35.4 percent of the total, compared with 36.9 percent during the same prior-year period.
“In the Americas, sales [of consumer products] decreased 8.5 percent to 41.2 billion yen [or $369.2 million]. Excluding the effect of currency translation, sales would have decreased 0.8 percent,” the company stated, adding in the period revenues from skin-care and professional hair-care products grew, while sales of retail hair-care products decreased.
Kao left its guidance unchanged for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31. It expects net income to grow 14.1 percent to 120 billion yen, or $1.07 billion at current exchange rates, and operating profit to expand 10 percent to 184 billion yen, or $1.64 billion. Net sales for the 12 months are forecast at 1.48 trillion yen, or $13.16 billion, up 0.4 percent.