In releasing its quarterly results last Oct. 31, Hoya Corporation said its shipments of eyeglass lenses increased overall in the three months ended Sept. 30, corresponding to the second quarter of its financial year. They rose especially in Europe, which is the company's single largest market for this kind of product.

However, in terms of yen, sales decreased everywhere except in the Asia-Pacific region outside Japan, due in part to the appreciation of the yen and to the still-difficult market situation in Japan. During the quarter, the yen appreciated by 9.4 percent against the U.S. dollar, by 2.4 percent against the euro and by 6.6 percent against the Thai baht, as compared to the same period a year ago.

Sales of contact lenses went up by about 10 percent in the quarter, with an increase in prices, in the number of Hoya's contact lens stores in Japan and in the number of customers visiting them. Together, sales of eyeglass lenses, contact lenses and other so-called health care products rose by 1.5 percent in terms of yen to ¥39.3 billion (€377.7m-$510.8m).

Adding higher sales of intraocular lenses and sales of other products including its medical endoscope, which increased markedly in emerging markets, the Life Care segment of Hoya showed an increase in sales of 3.4 percent to ¥52.4 billion (€503.6m-$681.0m), and its pre-tax profit rose by 11.9 percent to ¥10.99 billion (€105.6m-$142.8m), resulting in a higher margin of 21.0 percent.

As a group, Hoya suffered a 3.1 percent drop in total consolidated sales to ¥104.1 billion (€1.00bn-$1.35bn), leading up to a decline in the net profit margin to 12.1 percent from 13.1 percent a year ago. Nearly half of the drop in pre-tax profit stemmed from the appreciation of the yen. Revenues from continuing operations, excluding the Pentax imaging system business sold to Ricoh last July 1, increased by 0.7 percent to ¥96.5 billion (€927.5m-$1.25bn).