Yakult said profits fell 28.3% in the first quarter of its 2017 financial year up to 30 June

Yakult said profits fell 28.3% in the first quarter of its 2017 financial year up to 30 June

Japanese probiotics group Yakult has reported a 28.3% fall in profits for the first quarter of its 2017 financial year amid falling sales.

Yakult booked net profit of JPY6.69bn (US$65.5m) for the three months to the end of June, compared to JPY9.34bn in the first quarter of the 2015/2016 fiscal year.

Operating income was down 28.2% for the period to JPY7.24bn

Yakult said net sales for the first quarter dipped 2.4% to JPY90.6bn

Sales from Yakult's food and beverages division amounted to JPY50.7bn in Japan, down 0.3% on the previous year, and JPY36bn overseas, a fall of 6.8%. Yakult reported declining sales in the Americas and in the combined Asia and Oceania unit, which excludes Japan. Yakult provided data that showed it sold fewer bottles of dairy products a day in Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea, as well in Brazil and Mexico.

Net sales from Yakult's pharmaceuticals arm dropped 16.3% to JPY7.52bn.

The first-quarter report comes after Yakult posted higher annual sales and earnings last May, driven by growth in Asia and Oceania. Net income rose 15.1% to JPY28.84bn in the year to the end of March 2016. Operating income was up 14.8% at JPY40.06bn.

Net income rose 15.1% to JPY28.84bn in the year to the end of March. Operating income was up 14.8% at JPY40.06bn.

Earlier this year, Yakult announced plans to launch a production facility on the outskirts of Myanmar's commercial capital Yangon by next year. The Japanese group said it had already set up a subsidiary in Myanmar, where it wants to tap into growing local demand for dairy products. In addition, Yakult said it was making moves to expand its business in the Middle East.