April 8, 2014 1:40 am JST

Gree's January-March operating profit seen down 21%

TOKYO -- Gree Inc.'s operating profit for the January-March quarter apparently dropped 21% on the year to around 8.5 billion yen ($81.5 million) as revenue from games for conventional cellular phones continued to decline.

     Steps to cut expenses such as personnel costs helped it beat its 8 billion yen projection. Profit fell 7% from the prior quarter.

     Sales likely slumped 18% on the year to 31 billion yen. Alongside lower earnings from conventional phone games, the company's smartphone-game business struggled due to a lack of major hits.

     The drop in profits was likely much milder this quarter than in the October-December period, in which operating profit plunged 36% on the year.

     Gree offered early retirement to some employees last year, chiefly administrative staffers, helping to shrink labor costs. A reduction in subcontracting expenses for advertising as well as game development management also contributed.

     The company's overseas business is on an uptrend. It produced several hit smartphone games in North America, boosting fee income from the region.

     Gree has not announced an operating profit forecast for the fiscal year ending June 30. It plans to release a number of promising games in the April-June quarter, aiming to bring overall game revenue on track toward recovery.