Operations at the company's superlaboratory for eyeglass lenses in Thailand have been completely restored. This led Hoya Vision Care to recover around 90 percent of the sales level it had reached before the flooding on the global basis, and to raise its global sales of lenses by 40 percent in the three months ended last Dec. 31 as compared to the same period a year earlier.

European officials of the company indicated that they have been able to regain the confidence of major retail accounts, especially in big countries such as France and Germany, in spite of efforts by the competition in the last year to take advantage of the situation to win over new clients. However, Hiroshi Suzuki, president of the group, admitted that the market environment has greatly changed, so it will be difficult to return to pre-flooding levels.

With sales of contact lenses and intraocular lenses rising as well, the Life Care segment of the group recorded a sales increase of 23.0 percent to ¥52.8 billion (€433.3m-$564.3m) in the quarter, and it generated a positive profit margin of 18.2 percent against a negative margin of 3.1 percent in the year-ago period, when the company suffered a “loss from disaster” of ¥4.88 billion (€40.1m-$52.2m).

Hoya got an additional ¥1,832 million (€15.0m-$19.6m) worth of insurance income in the quarter as compensation for the fixed assets and the lost profit suffered from the floods that invaded Thailand in the autumn of 2011, crippling the lab completely.

The company's sales of contact lenses, which are still mostly limited to the Japanese market, went up by 8 percent in the quarter as compared to a year ago. With more than 200 stores in the country, Hoya claims a market share of over 20 percent in Japan.

As compared to the second quarter of the current financial year; the revenues of the Life Care segment were up by 5.6 percent, with 60 percent of the increase attributed to higher sales of endoscopes and the rest to eyeglasses.

The results of the Life Care division were even better for the nine months ended last Dec. 31 because of the insurance premiums. While sales were up by only 1.7 percent to ¥150.1 million (€1.2m-$1.6m), they delivered a profit margin of 27.9 percent as compared to 13.6 percent in the comparable 2011 period.

As a group, Hoya raised its sales by 8.6 percent to ¥90.7 billion (€744.4m-$969.3m) in the three-month period, with increases of 28.8 percent in the Americas and 29.4 percent in Europe. On a currency-neutral basis, revenues were up by 6.4 percent across the group, but exchange rates had little influence on the Life Care segment.

The operating profit margin increased from 8.0 percent to 19.4 percent; and the net profit margin soared to 11.4 percent from 3.9 percent. A year earlier, from October to December 2011, Hoya had endured tremendous expenses because of the Thai floods.

As previously reported in EWI, Hoya has concluded a strategic alliance with Seiko Holdings Corporation. It has been able to take over its manufacturing facilities for eyeglass lenses, with effect from last Feb. 1, and this will give Hoya a second source of supply, but the marketing and distribution part of the deal has been suspended because the antitrust authorities of the People's Republic of China have indicated that they will need more time to review the case.