In the first nine months of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, instrument sales increased. However, COVID-19 led to lower reagent sales in the hematology1, urinalysis and immunochemistry fields, lowering net sales. Selling, general and administrative expenses fell, partly as the result of restrictions on movement stemming from COVID-19, but the cost of sales ratio worsened due to lower reagent sales, and performance was affected by exchange rates. Operating profit fell as a result. Although the exchange rate loss declined, the lower operating profit sapped profit attributable to owners of the parent. Net sales decreased 2.9% year on year, operating profit fell 11.2%, and profit attributable to owners of the parent declined 12.1%. At the exchange rates prevailing one year earlier, net sales would have been down 1.8% and operating profit down 9.5%.
Instrument sales rose, thanks to solid sales results in China and EMEA. Reagent sales rose in the hemostasis and life science fields due to higher demand for testing related to COVID-19, but declined in other fields. Profitability improved in the third quarter, compared with the first half of the fiscal year, as COVID-19 had less of a downward impact on reagent sales than in the first half.
We maintain unchanged the consolidated performance forecast we announced in November 2020 for the full fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.
Among key topics in the third quarter, in November 2020 we received manufacturing and marketing approval, as well as insurance coverage, on a SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection reagent. December 2020 marked the launch of the hinotoriTM Surgical Robot System2, the first surgical robot unit produced in Japan. We expect the system to gain ground in the Japanese market for use in urologic surgery and anticipate expansion of the applicable indications to additional clinical fields.
In addition to the establishing research, diagnosis and treatment related to COVID-19, Sysmex will continue taking up the challenge of creating high-value testing and diagnostic technologies. In this manner, we will contribute toward the resolution of the world’s medical issues and the realization of a sustainable society.