JAPAN: Kao Corp, Tokyo, reported its sixth straight year of record net profits, up 4.6% to $598 million, thanks to strong sales of new products, and forecast group net profit would rise 10% to 72 billion yen next year for the year ended March 31. Solid demand for products such as Healthya diet green tea and Asience shampoos plus contributions from overseas units helped offset falling prices in its mainstay toiletry products at home, former president Takuya Goto said.
Partially behind the steady growth were the company’s aggressive acquisitions in the U.S. and Europe, most notably the purchase of John Frieda in 2002. Mr. Goto said competition slowed growth in China, but noted that China accounts for only 10% of Kao’s sales.
In April, Kao named Motoki Ozaki president. He formerly led the company’s core operations. At age 54, Mr. Ozaki is the youngest board member. He was selected by Mr. Goto, 63, to succeed him due to his high regard by seniors and subordinates, according to reports. Mr. Ozaki will focus on boosting international markets.