Mitsubishi Pharma Corp. said Monday that its group net profit soared 229.4 percent to 8.99 billion yen in fiscal 2001 due to cost-cutting and the U.S. government’s authorization of a resumption of shipments from a U.S. plant.

The company, created through the Oct. 1 merger of Welfide Corp. and Mitsubishi-Tokyo Pharmaceuticals Inc., also attributed the windfall to the effects of the merger.

It said it will spin off its blood products-manufacturing division on Oct. 1 to create Benesis Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary.

By making the division a separate entity, Mitsubishi Pharma expects to bolster control over production of blood products, which carry the risk of becoming tainted with viruses in the production process, company officials said.

The company’s blood-products division was taken over from defunct drugmaker Green Cross Corp., which once sparked a public outcry by selling HIV-tainted blood products that infected hemophiliacs with the AIDS virus.

Mitsubishi Pharma said group net profit per share climbed to 24.54 yen in fiscal 2001, up from 9.93 yen a year earlier. Consolidated pretax profit jumped 145.2 percent to 16.64 billion yen as a result of cost cutbacks and the merger.

The merger also helped boost group sales 26.2 percent to 228.98 billion yen.

Mitsubishi Pharma said its net balance improved partly because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Alpha Therapeutic Corp., the firm’s U.S. subsidiary, to resume distribution of products from its Los Angeles plant.

Mitsubishi Pharma said it will pay a full-year per-share dividend of 11 yen, up from 10 yen the previous year.

For fiscal 2002, it forecast consolidated net profits to hit 17 billion yen and pretax profits to amount to 30 billion yen on projected sales of 293 billion yen.

Mitsubishi Pharma also announced that it will dismiss by the end of fiscal 2004 3,300 employees from the consolidated workforce of 9,350 it had as of October, as part of its three-year business program.

Under the plan, it will seek to secure group operating profits of 50 billion yen in fiscal 2004 — 2 1/2 times that of fiscal 2001 — on projected sales of 270 billion yen.

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