Shiseido Co., the nation’s largest cosmetics maker, said Tuesday that it posted its first loss in 55 years in fiscal 2000 ended March 31, 2001, due to shortfalls in its pension and retirement reserves.

The company said it posted a consolidated net loss of 45.09 billion yen, the group’s first net loss, and an unconsolidated net loss of 16.33 billion yen, the first unconsolidated loss since the business year that ended Nov. 30, 1945.

In the previous year, the company posted a group net profit of 15.29 billion yen and a parent-only net profit of 17.16 billion yen.

Shiseido said the poor results stemmed from an extraordinary loss of 69 billion yen to cover the shortfall in reserves and a one-time goodwill loss of 13 billion yen for a U.S. subsidiary.

Group sales were essentially flat, slipping 0.2 percent to 595.15 billion yen, as domestic sales of cosmetics and toiletries, which account for the bulk of sales, dropped 4 percent from the previous year amid the weak domestic economy. In contrast, overseas sales rose a healthy 21.5 percent.

Pretax profit on a consolidated basis fell 17.6 percent to 32.98 billion yen and slipped 4.1 percent on an unconsolidated basis to 30.19 billion yen.

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