March 4, 2014 2:00 am JST

Japan's Pigeon foresees record profit in fiscal 2014

TOKYO -- Pigeon Corp. forecast Monday an all-time-high group net profit of 7.3 billion yen ($71.3 million) for the year through January 2015, up 5% on the year and the fifth consecutive fiscal year of record black ink, thanks to brisk sales in China.

     While domestic sales are expected to fall slightly to 38.9 billion yen, the overseas tally is seen surging 18% to 45.6 billion yen, ensuring that group sales climb 9% to 84.5 billion yen. In particular, plans call for boosting Chinese sales by 22% to 27.3 billion yen. The company also anticipates selling more baby products in such markets as India and Malaysia.

     Aided by growth in North America, Europe and elsewhere, the leading Japanese manufacturer of baby products sees itself generating the majority of its sales abroad for the first time. The share will grow to 54% from the 49.8% of fiscal 2013.

     Pigeon sees operating profit jumping 12% to 11.6 billion yen and pretax profit up 7% at 11.8 billion yen.

     For the year ended Jan. 31, sales surged 19% on the year to 77.4 billion yen, while net profit leapt 53% to 6.9 billion yen.

     A new three-year plan also announced Monday targets 100 billion yen in sales, a 9 billion yen net profit, and return on equity above 21%, all in fiscal 2016, by further growing the Chinese business as well as developing markets in Central and South America.

     "In emerging and other overseas markets, we will broaden our customer base beyond the affluent classes," Managing Executive Officer Eiji Akamatsu told a news conference.