Sales: $3.2 billion for household and personal care products. Corporate sales: $3.4 billion.
Key Personnel: Itsuo Hama, president and chief executive officer; Yuji Watari, senior managing executive officer; Masazumi Kikukawa, managing executive officer; Kenjiro Kobayashi, senior executive officer; Toshio Kakui, senior executive officer; Takeo Sakakibara, senior executive officer.
Major Products: Oral care, skin care, beauty products, toiletries, fabric care, home care and household cleaners.
New Products: Clinica Kid’s toothbrushes and Kid’s Gel toothpaste, Nonio mouthwash and toothpaste, Ban Sweat-Blocking Roll-On Premium Label for Men.
Comments: Sales rose 3.8% last year, as the company posted gains domestically and internationally, too. In Japan, which accounted for more than 64% of revenue, sales of oral care and beauty care products were strong. Overseas (26.4%), sales were firm in Lion’s mainstay markets, including Thailand and Malaysia in Southeast Asia and South Korea and China in Northeast Asia. Despite a rise in raw material prices, in Japan high-value-added products expanded and the streamlining of competition-related expenses continued. Overseas, sales of personal care products remained steady. Operating income grew 11.0% year on year, reaching a record high for the fourth consecutive year.
Oral care sales rose 7.4% on the year, driven by increased toothbrush and mouthwash sales. Beauty care sales increased nearly 10%, due, in part, to increased sales of personal cleansers. Fabric care sales fell less than 1% as softener sales increased and detergent sales declined. Household cleaner sales were flat.
This year, the company expects sales to rise 3.5% on the strength of oral care sales. Outside Japan, Lion is expanding its e-commerce business.
Now, through 2020, Lion is implementing a strategy called the LIon Value Evolution (LIVE) plan. Under the theme of evolving into a leading advanced daily healthcare company, Lion will advance long-term, future-oriented growth initiatives and framework-building efforts in and outside Japan while further accelerating improvements to management efficiency to reinforce the earnings structure.
In a nutshell, the four-part strategy calls for:
- Creating value through combinations of technologies and services, such as oral-to-body solutions in which oral care contributes to whole-body health care. Creating a health care business that will promote healthy habits that help enhance quality of life and develop new health care business models that leverage cutting-edge technologies, such as IoT and AI.
- Accelerate growth in overseas businesses through “glocalization,” via regional management and expanding business based on e-commerce channels and M&A.
- Business structure reform to reinforce investment in the flexible, efficient manufacturing infrastructure that will drive business growth, create advanced and sustainable supply chains, reinforce information system foundations to promote more sophisticated group management, and improve the efficiency of management resources and business activities.
- Create dynamism to foster innovative change by promoting diversity and openness in our human resources, organizations and corporate culture.
Lion’s first quarter 2018 corporate sales rose less than 2%, but consumer product sales fell 7.4%. Some categories did better than others. Sales of oral care products, for instance, rose 1.7% on higher sales for Systema Haguki Plus, a toothpaste that helps repair gum tissue and new Nonio toothpaste. Fabric care sales fell due to weak Top Hygia sales and an overall decline in powder purchases. Household cleaner sales increased, due to sales gains for Look Plus Bath Antimold Fogger and new Look Plus Cleanliness Reset. Also, Total Drain Cleaner for Kitchens, a detergent that removes slime from kitchen drains without requiring the user to touch it, received favorable consumer reviews.