TOKYO — Kao Corp. said Tuesday that its first-half net profit grew by 73.3 percent on a low comparative base resulting from an extraordinary loss it booked in the same period a year earlier.
Kao’s net profit for the six months ended June 30 totaled 31.65 billion yen, or $308.9 million at average exchange rates for the period. Last year’s extraordinary losses were related to the voluntary recall of more than 50 Kanebo brightening products, which were shown to leave white spots on the skin of some users.
Operating income increased by 14.9 percent to 49.35 billion yen, or $481.7 million.
Net sales for the period grew 6.6 percent to 665.94 billion yen, or $6.5 billion. In its beauty care segment, which includes brands such as Jergens, Bioré and Kanebo, sales grew 1.8 percent to 283.5 billion yen, or $2.77 billion. Excluding the effects of currency translation, sales in this category would have slipped by 0.2 percent.
The company said that while sales of cosmetics decreased compared with the same period a year earlier, sales of skin-care products increased and hair-care product sales were flat.
Geographically, Kao saw increased sales in every area in which it operates. Its biggest growth came from Asia, excluding Japan, where net sales rose 22.2 percent to 116.9 billion yen, or $1.14 billion.
The company also lifted its net sales guidance for the current fiscal year, ending Dec. 31. The company now expects sales to grow 5.7 percent to 1.39 trillion yen, or $13.65 billion at current exchange. This is up from a previous forecast of 1.37 trillion yen, or $13.45 billion.
Kao left unchanged its full-year net and operating profit guidance. It predicts net income will increase by 15.8 percent to 75 billion yen, or $736.51 million. It expects operating income to grow 4.3 percent to 130 billion yen, or $1.28 billion.