Japanese dairy-to-confectionery group Ezaki Glico has booked a jump in first-quarter profits, propelled by lower costs and higher sales.

In the three months to 26 March, Ezaki Glico said net profit increased to JPY3.55bn (US$36m), up from JPY689m in the comparable period of last year. Operating profit rose to JPY3.81bn, up from JPY1.41bn in the first quarter of 2012.

In a regulatory filing, the company said profits were boosted by lower costs, “downsizing” and the reduction of promotional expenses.

Sales were also up in the period, rising to JPY78.41bn from JPY72.95bn in the comparable period of last year. The company said growth was driven in part by international expansion, including higher revenues from its Shanghai-based subsidiary.

The company was upbeat on its international growth prospects. Ezaki Glico recenty formed a joint venture with PT. Mitrajaya Ekaprana, a member of the Wings Group, that will see it expand in the Indonesian ice cream market.

Commenting on the venture’s prospects Ezaki Glico said Indonesia was a “promising market” for ice cream and the group expects to benefit from PT. Mitrajaya Ekaprana’s “strong sales and marketing force” in the country.

In May, Ezaki Glicao announced plans to sell Pocky chocolate in South Korea through a venture with local candy firm Haitai Confectionery. Pocky is sold in 30 countries; in Europe the brand is sold under the Mikado name through a venture with Mondelez International.

Click here for the Q1 release from Ezaki Glico or click here to see the announcement of the JV agreement and Indonesian entry.