Shiseido Co., Japan’s biggest cosmetics maker, said Wednesday it swung back into the black in the first half of fiscal 2002 due mainly to cost-cutting efforts and a reduction in inventories in its cosmetic and toiletries business.

The company posted a group net profit of 9.87 billion yen in the April-September period in a turnaround from a loss of 1.48 billion yen a year earlier, despite incurring a one-time appraisal loss of 2.06 billion yen on securities holdings due to falling stock prices.

Per-share net profit came to 23.32 yen against a net loss of 3.54 yen a year earlier.

Shiseido said its group sales rose 6.1 percent to 310.27 billion yen on the strength of the decreased inventories, increased overseas sales and a weaker yen.

Group pretax profit surged 135.3 percent to 23.3 billion yen due to increased sales and the cost-cutting efforts.

The company said it will raise its interim dividend payments to 10 yen per share from 8 yen year earlier.

For the full year to next March 31, Shiseido said it expects a consolidated net profit of 25 billion yen and pretax profit of 43 billion yen on group sales of 625 billion yen.

In the previous year, the company posted a group net loss of 22.77 billion yen and pretax profit of 27.56 billion yen on group sales of 589.96 billion yen.

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