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Tea maker Ito En to sip sweet profits as Asia enforces sugar tax

Japanese company's unsweetened green tea in sync with health-conscious trends

Ito En's new design for its mainstay green tea product Oi Ocha has buoyed sales in Japan.

TOKYO -- Riding on the success of its newly designed bottles and a growing appetite for Japanese cuisine abroad, tea maker Ito En is rolling toward its second straight record net profit. But the sweet news does not stop there. The Tokyo-based company is about to get an unexpected tail wind from the spread of sugar taxes, especially in Southeast Asia.

For the year ending April, group sales are expected to rise 3% on the year to 492.5 billion yen ($4.34 billion), with net profit increasing 2% to 14 billion yen. Sales in Japan are growing thanks to its renewed mainstay green tea product Oi Ocha, while overseas earnings are also rising with a stepped-up effort to increase its ITOEN brand recognition.

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