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Rohto Pharma profit seen diving 18% on challenges abroad

OSAKA -- Japan's Rohto Pharmaceutical sees group net profit sliding 18% in the year ending March 2017 as Chinese sales struggle and a stiff yen crimps earnings on U.S. and European operations.

The maker of medicines and personal goods such as cosmetics and eyedrops said Friday it expects to log 7.5 billion yen ($70.2 million) in black ink, down from the initial forecast of a record 9.5 billion yen, or 4% profit growth. Sales are seen dropping 10% to 150.5 billion yen -- 12.5 billion yen less than previously forecast.

U.S. sales of products such as male cosmetics and lip balm, both fiercely competitive markets, are in a slump, compounding foreign-exchange effects. Business is brisk in Asian markets such as Vietnam and Indonesia, but is insufficient to combat sluggish operations in China.

"Online shopping is taking off in China, while retailers" -- Rohto's main sales channel -- "are experiencing a severe downturn," President Toshiaki Yoshino said. Hefty investment in the development of regenerative medicine and efforts to crack the African market are putting additional pressure on profit.

Group sales in the April-September half fell 8% to 71.2 billion yen, while net profit slid 14% to 4.1 billion yen.

(Nikkei)

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