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Soymilk profits soar on mad cow scare


Japan's top soymilk producer, Kibun Food Chemifa Co Ltd, said on Friday it would quadruple its net profit this fiscal year to a record 630 million yen (EUR 5.8 million) thanks to surging demand for beef alternatives after an outbreak of mad cow disease in Japan. Kibun said it has revised up its forecast for operating profit in 2001/02 to 1.3 billion yen from the 1.2 billion yen projected last month when it published half-year results. Kibun shares were up 9.9 per cent at 534 in early morning trade, while the Nikkei average was up 0.28 per cent. The company, which also produces raw materials for cosmetics makers using alternatives to cattle-based products, said that in the year ending March 2002 total sales would probably surpass its latest forecast of 14.7 billion yen, touching some 15 billion yen, a year-on-year rise of three percent. A Kibun spokesman said its beverage segment would see a rise of 20 to 30 per cent in second-half sales from the year before. "Our domestic market share of 55 percent will remain around the same because of the growing pie overall," he added. The company won an order from Snow Brand Milk Products Co to supply soymilk and is also seeing more orders for food made of fish paste used in meals at schools and company cafeterias. Kibun also said rising demand for hyaluronic acid, which is used as a moisturiser in cosmetics, would probably boost its already high global market share of 30 per cent.

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