* Chairman Maeda to replace President Suekawa - reports
* Shiseido shares surge as much as 6.5 pct to 10-mth high
TOKYO, March 11 Japan's Shiseido Co Ltd
is set to replace its president after an underwhelming reign
that saw profits suffer, media reports said, sending shares in
the cosmetics giant surging to a 10-month high.
Shiseido, which competes with France's L'Oreal and
Estee Lauder in sales of high-end cosmetics, has seen its
market share decline in Asian markets in recent years due to
competition from lower-priced rivals.
President Hisayuki Suekawa will be replaced by Chairman
Shinzo Maeda, who relinquished his role as president in January
2011, the reports said.
"The current management has been very slow in changing their
policy. It's been in structural decline for the last three
years, so the fact the guy is quitting on his own is good," a
director at a foreign hedge fund said.
The company, with a market capitalisation of $5.3 billion,
said it had no comment at this time.
Shiseido shares climbed 6.1 percent to 1,356 yen and at one
point traded as high as 1,361 yen on Monday morning. The
benchmark Nikkei advanced 0.9 percent.
In January, the cosmetic maker slashed its operating profit
forecast for the year ending March 31 by almost 40 percent to
24.5 billion yen ($255 million) as sales in China were hit by
anti-Japanese sentiment due to a territorial dispute.
That would mark a 37 percent decrease on the year, compared
to a 18.7 percent year-on-year fall in the previous year.
Shiseido, which competes with Kao Corp in the
domestic market, maintained its annual dividend at 50 yen.
"The issue is now whether the new president will see reality
and the dividend gets cut," a senior trader at a foreign bank
Shiseido shares are up 11.4 percent so far this year after
suffering five consecutive years of losses.