Earlier today [Tuesday], dairy producer Meiji Milk Products Co. posted a 76.7% drop year-on-year in net profits to ¥1bn (US$8.1m) for the April to September period.

The company, the second largest dairy foods manufacturer in Japan, explained that the first half figures had been buffeted by intensifying price competition and a lasting slowdown in personal consumption of dairy foods. For this reason the group expects to see net profit plummet by 84.4% for the full year to March 2002, down to ¥600m.

For the last six-month period, Meiji stressed that a decrease in ice cream sales had been partly offset by some growth in the company's transportation and other services. Sales fell 0.7% to ¥368,164m and the company's consolidated recurring profit of fell 37.7% to ¥7,347m.