Yakult Honsha Co., the Japan-based firm behind the namesake probiotic drink, has posted a 32% fall in annual earnings - and forecast that profits would slide again in the year ahead.

The company reported net income of JPY11.32bn (US$119.2m) for the year to the end of March, down 32.1% on the year.

Net sales dropped 7.5% to JPY293.49bn, with Yakult's food and beverage division seeing its revenues fall by 9.9%. Food and beverages account for over 83% of Yakult Honsha's annual sales.

Operating income was down 25.6% to JPY16.74bn, the company said on Wednesday (13 May).

For the year ahead, Yakult Honsha has forecast lower net sales of JPY285bn. The group has also predicted that operating income would be lower at JPY15bn, with net income forecast to fall again to JPY7.5bn.