Japanese food group Ajinomoto has reported a drop in first-quarter profits, hit by lower earnings from its domestic food business, as well as its non-food divisions.

Higher revenues from Ajinomoto’s consumer foods businesses outside Japan helped operating profit from its overseas food arm increase 26.2% to JPY7.7bn (US$74.9m).

Ajinomoto’s overseas food arm is its biggest division by both sales and operating profit. It sells products including seasonings and instant noodles into south-east Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa.

At a group level, net income dropped 8.2% to JPY10.95bn in the three months to the end of June. Operating income slid 12.8% to JPY13.31bn. The company’s total net sales fell 2.6% to JPY227.58bn.

Ajinomoto said operating income from its bioscience and chemicals arm, its pharma division and its domestic food unit fell year-on-year.

The fall in earnings from the company’s Japanese food business came despite higher sales. Ajinomoto pointed to higher sales expenses.