Ajinomoto Co. suffered a huge fall in income for its full year as revenues slipped, costs rose and foreign exchange issues took their toll.

The Japanese food group said that on a consolidated basis, net sales were JPY1.19 trillion(US$12.5bn) in the year to 31 March, down 2% on the year.

Operating income was JPY40.8bn, a 33% fall, while ordinary income stood at JPY25.9bn, a slump of 53%.

Ajinomoto made a net loss was JPY10.2bn, compared to a net profit of JPY28.2bn the year before.

In Ajinomoto’s domestic food products business, sales increased slightly compared with the previous fiscal year due the addition of Calpis Co. as a wholly-owned subsidiary in October 2007 and the contribution of edible oils and coffee products.

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In the overseas food products business, sales of Aji-no-moto and flavour seasonings for household use grew substantially in Asia, but decreased slightly when translated into yen due to the negative effect of currency translation.

In North and South America, sales of household-use flavour seasonings were strong in South America, but sales decreased when translated into yen due to foreign exchange.

In Europe and Africa, sales of Aji-no-moto for household use in West African countries decreased substantially, partly reflecting shortages in raw materials caused by port problems.
In the amino acids business, sales of umami seasonings for processed food manufacturers grew favourably, but the impact of foreign exchange rates, intensifying competition and business restructuring led to a decrease in sales.

The fall in operating income was attributed to a sharp rise in the prices of raw materials and fuels and the effect of foreign exchange rates.

For the 2010 fiscal year, Ajinomoto forecasts consolidated net sales of JPY1.2 trillion, operating income of JPY42bn and ordinary income of JPY36bn.

The group also forecast net income of JPY10bn, assuming a US dollar/yen exchange rate of 92.5 yen.