April 19, 2014 2:00 am JST

Japan's Zeria Pharma seen logging record profit for fiscal 2013

TOKYO -- Zeria Pharmaceutical Co. is expected to post a group operating profit of around 6.7 billion yen ($64.7 million) for the year ended March 31, up 45% from fiscal 2012, helped by brisk sales of over-the-counter liver tonics.

     The figure beats the 6.5 billion yen forecast resulting from a February upgrade. It marks the Japanese drugmaker's first record-high profit in 13 years.

     Sales also apparently topped the forecast, climbing 14% to 61 billion yen.

     Zeria was aided by the Hepalyse W line of nutrient drinks, said to aid liver function and increasingly popular among health-conscious people who take them before or after alcoholic beverages. Zeria offers the product exclusively through convenience stores to avoid the price wars often seen in chain drugstores. This has kept prices stable, helping to absorb increased advertising and other promotional expenses.

     In prescription products, Zeria enjoyed higher sales of its mainstay Asacol ulcerative colitis drug.

     Sales and profit will also likely climb in fiscal 2014. The company anticipates continued strength in Hepalyse W as well as a significant boost from Acofide, a new upset-stomach remedy.