Sales: $10.5 billion
Key Personnel: Motoki Ozaki, president and chief executive officer; Takuo Goto, representative director, senior executive vice president, global production and engineering, environment and safety management, logistics; Hiroshi Kanda, representative director, executive vice president, global consumer products business, global beauty care business unit; Norihiko Takagi, executive vice president, global business development; Shunichi Nakagawa, executive vice president, global legal and compliance, global corporate communications, global information systems; Tatsuo Takahashi, executive vice president, representative director, president and chief executive officer, Kao Customer Marketing Co., Ltd.; Toshiharu Numata, executive vice president, global R&D, product quality management; Toshihide Saito, president, global chemical business; Shinichi Mita, vice president, global accounting and finance; Masato Hirota, vice president, global business development; Shinichiro Hiramine, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer, Kao (China) Holding Co., Ltd.; Ken Hashimoto, vice president, global procurement; Yoshitaka Nakatani, vice president, global production and engineering; Hisao Mitsui, vice president, global production and engineering (fabric and home care and chemical supply chain management); Shigeru Koshiba, vice president, global marketing development, global research; Masumi Natsusaka, vice president, global beauty care business, president, global prestige cosmetics and global premium skin care; William J. Gentner, president and chief executive officer, Kao Brands Company; Naohisa Kure, vice president, global R&D (beauty); Mikio Nakano, representative director, senior executive vice president, Kao Customer Marketing Co., Ltd. (prestige cosmetics); Akira Yoshimatsu, vice president, global R&D (fabric and home care and chemical).
Major Products: Household products, personal care products and color cosmetics.
New Products: Kanebo Blanchir Superior whitening skin care, Medicated Pyuora Nano-bright toothpaste, Essential Damage Care hair care, Asience Nature Smooth, Aube couture makeup, Attack Neo ultra-concentrated liquid detergent (August).
Comments: For the year ended March 31, 2009, Kao Corp.’s corporate sales were $12.7 billion. Consumer product sales were $10.5 billion, down 3.7%. Beauty sales were $5.8 billion, a decline of 6.3%, while its fabric and home care unit posted sales of $2.7 billion, a slight drop of 0.2%. Sales from the human health care unit, which includes oral care and baby care products, were flat at $1.9 billion.
According to Kao, in Japan, sales of premium skin care products increased steadily, with strong performance from Bioré and Curel. Sales of premium hair care products also rose, bolstered by a robust performance from Blauné hair color foam. In prestige cosmetics, Kanebo rolled out the Blanchir Superior whitening skin care brand, and Kao reported that new premium skin care products from Biore and Curel turned in strong performances.
In Asia, Biore turned in a steady performance, particularly in China and Indonesia. The company also launched Asience, a premium hair care line, in China and Thailand. Another success in China: the company said it increased sales per store in prestige cosmetics.
In North America and Europe, sales were impacted by the economy, however Kao said sales of John Frieda and Guhl premium hair care brands were firm in Europe.
In Kao’s household products sector, sales fell a scant 0.2% over the previous fiscal year. Excluding the effect of currency, sales would have risen 1.5%, according to the company. In Japan sales rose 0.3%. In home care, new product launches included CuCute dishwashing detergent and Resesh fabric and air fresheners. In Asia and Oceania, sales rose, boosted by the Magiclean household cleaner line. Sales of Attack Easy laundry detergent in Thailand and Indonesia were also strong, the company said.
Kao continues to push ahead with new products, acquisitions and expansion plans.
This month, Kao will unveil Attack Neo, which it bills as the world’s first ultra-concentrated liquid detergent. Formulated with Aqua W (Double) Riser—a new cleaning ingredient developed with Kao’s original environmental technology—a 400g bottle will wash the same number of loads as one kilogram of conventional liquid detergent.
In June, Kao acquired a plant from Reichardt International AG, which will be used to manufacture premium hair care products. Production was slated to begin in July. Based in Darmstadt, Germany, Reichardt had been a major consignee for Kao’s main subsidiaries, KPSS-Kao Professional Salon Services GmbH and Kao Brands Europe Limited.
In addition, the company will start construction in January on a Eco-Technology Research Center (ETRC), which will house three research facilities.