Menicon, the Japanese contact lens specialist, posted last week stable revenues of JPY63.4 billion (€496.3m-$599.8m) for the first three quarters of its current fiscal year, a 0.1 percent increase only from the previous year.

Sales of contact lenses and care products went down by 2.5 percent year-on-year to ¥28.9 billion (€226.2m-$273.4m), reflecting the negative impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Sales of daily and other types of contact lenses dropped by a total ¥2.4 billion (€18.8m-$22.7m), but the company’s growth in China led to sales’ increases of ¥0.6 billion (€4.7m-$5.7m) and ¥1.0 billion (€7.8m-$9.5m) in orthokeratology lenses and care products, respectively. Another positive factor was the steady increase in the MELS segment, by the name of the company’s contact lenses’ monthly subscription plans. The company had enrolled 1.34 million people in its MELS memberships at the end of last year, or 20,000 more than in 2019 at the same time. This program, which is only available in Japan, represents more than half of Menicon’s revenues with sales of JPY32.8 billion for the first nine months of the financial year, up by 2.6 percent year-on-year.

The company’s business is still very much focused on Japan, with the country representing 83.4 percent of revenues, but Menicon stressed its improved internationalization as export sales gained 3 percentage points in the reviewed period, reaching 16.6 percent of the topline figure. In value, Japanese sales declined by 3.4 percent year-on-year to ¥52.9 billion (€414.1m-$500.4m) while exports grew by 22.9 percent to ¥10.5 billion (€82.2m-$99.3m). China was the most dynamic region with revenues up by 46.3 percent to ¥4.1 billion (€32.1m-$38.8m) followed by Europe where sales progressed by 18.7 percent to ¥5.5bn (€43.1m-$52.0m), lifted in particular by the acquisition of Soleko in Italy.

In terms of profitability, Menicon reported a slightly lower profit margin for the reported nine months but managed to raise its operating margin by 1.3 percentage points to 10.9 percent through reduced SG&A expenses. For the full year, the company expects a 9.3 percent EBITDA margin on revenues of ¥85.8 billion (€671.6m-$811.7m), 1.2 percent higher than the previous year.