The company has set up a new subsidiary in Vienna, Hoya Lens Österreich, with its own sales force and its customer service team, supervised by Martin Decker. It has started to take care of the Austrian market, which was previously handled directly from Germany.

The vision care division of Hoya Corporation reported a 14.4 drop in sales to ¥26.0 billion (€200.2m-$300.0m) in the second quarter ended Sept. 30, but operating margin edged up by 2.7 percentage points to 23.9 percent.

The company said the eye care market in Japan remained weak because of the continued effects of price declines. Sales there fell by 11.8 percent to ¥7.1 billion (€54.7m-$81.9m). The strong yen hurt sales figures outside Japan, which fell by 15.3 percent to ¥18.8 billion (€144.7m-$217.0m). Eyeglass lenses saw a 14.1 percent drop in sales in the quarter, with decreases across the board geographically: by 9.8 percent in Japan, 18.0 percent in the U.S., 15.5 percent in Europe and 12.2 percent in Asia.

On a currency-neutral basis, quarterly sales in Europe grew by 3.9 percent and in Asia by 5.5 percent, excluding Japan. North American sales dropped by 2.4 percent, though company officials noted that the figure is not directly comparable as during the year some U.S. distributors switched to purchasing directly from factories in Asia.

France saw remarkable growth and the company now has record-high market share there. Germany, Italy and Spain were all cited as having increases above 5 percent. The Nordic countries returned to positive growth, but Eastern Europe and the Netherlands remained weak. In Asia, strong growth was seen in India as the distribution networks expanded, and premium products are doing exceptionally well in China. Hoya saw single-digit growth in Korea, though it is positioned at the high end of the market, which is growing more slowly than the budget segment.

For the first half of Hoya's fiscal year, vision care revenues fell by 15.7 percent to ¥51.6 billion (€397.3m-$595.5m), with an 11.2 percent drop to ¥13.8 billion (€106.2m-$159.3m) in Japan and a 17.3 percent decrease to ¥37.8 billion (€291.0m-$436.2m) overseas. Health care sales, which comprise contact lenses and intraocular devices, rose by 5.2 percent to ¥26.6 billion (€204.8m-$307.0m).

Eyeglass lens sales in the six months dropped by 15.4 percent in terms of yen. They fell by 9.9 percent in Japan, 15.5 percent in the U.S., 18.3 percent in Europe and 15.3 percent in Asia. The operating margin for the half increased by 2.5 percentage points to 22.4 percent.

Including its other operations in semiconductors and other fields, the company's overall quarterly sales decreased by 16.8 percent to ¥106.8 billion (€822.2m-$1,232m), with a 9.2 percent decline in operating income to ¥18.7 billion (€144.0m-$215.8m). Net income plummeted by 45.9 percent to ¥10.3 billion (€79.3m-$118.9m). Hoya noted that orders have recovered since the end of the first quarter, with sales and operating income increasing compared with the first three months of the fiscal year.

For the first six months of the fiscal year, sales dropped by 21.9 percent to ¥201.8 billion (€1,554m-$2,329m), and the operating income fell by 34.1 percent to ¥28.0 billion (€215.6m-$323.1m). Hoya's net income plunged by 64.8 percent to ¥14.2 billion (€109.3m-$163.9m).