Japanese snack maker Calbee reported a slide in first-quarter sales and profits after a poor harvest caused a potato shortage, forcing the company to cease production of certain crisps brands in April.

The devastation caused by typhoon Hokkaido in the summer of 2016 disrupted the harvest in the country’s major growing region from which the tropical storm took its name. Despite resuming sales on a phased basis on June 19, Calbee still posted an 8.5% drop in revenue to JPY56.5bn (US$513m), on a consolidated basis, in the three months through March from a year earlier.

Net income decreased 46% to JPY2.2bn, the company said in its earnings report yesterday (3 August). Earnings per share on diluted basis came in at JPY17.10, down from JPY28.65 in the first quarter of 2016.

In an effort to make up the revenue shortfall, Tokyo-based Calbee honed in on its flour, corn and bean-based snacks, but could not make up for the decrease in potato-based products. Operating income for the quarter dropped 52% to JPY3.4bn.

For its overseas operations, Calbee said sales were weak in North America and South Korea but were offset by a strong performance in new markets entered last fiscal year, namely Indonesia and Australia. Despite typhoon Hokkaido, the company noted business activity in Japan showed some improvement with a recovery in exports and consumer sentiment.

While Hokkaido potatoes are normally sent to market between September and May, Calbee had to halt production of around 30 crisps and snacks products in April.

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By GlobalData