Nova sees sales plunge for quarter

Nova Corp., the nation’s largest language school chain, said Friday its sales for the April-June period plunged 31.9 percent to ¥9.3 billion, reflecting the difficulty the troubled firm is experiencing in luring new students.

Nova’s image took a beating in June when the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ordered the Osaka-based company to partially suspend business for lying about its services and cancellation policy when soliciting prospective students.

Speculation ran rife that Nova was strapped for cash when it failed to make salary payments at the end of last month. Nova said wages were paid on Aug. 1 and apologized for the trouble caused to its investors and others concerned.

Nova posted an operating loss of ¥4.6 billion and a group net loss of ¥2.4 billion. The figures cannot be compared with last year’s because they were not disclosed.

But in the full year to March, Nova posted a net loss of ¥2.5 billion.

“We are taking (METI’s suspension order) very seriously and have set up an outside panel to study ways to reform our business,” the company said in a statement.

Initially scheduled for Aug. 10, the release of Nova’s financial report for the three months to June was postponed to Friday because more time was needed to calculate how much had to be set aside to pay refunds, the company said.

In the financial statement, the company said it set aside ¥1.6 billion.

The language school chain misleadingly informed prospective students they could book lessons “any time” and at any of its 900 branches nationwide.