Swedish Match’s sales during the three months to the end of March, at SEK3,014 million, were up by 1.1 percent on those of the three months to the end of March 2013, SEK2,982 million.
Operating profit was down by 16.8 percent to SEK858 million, while operating profit from product areas, which excludes SM’s share of the Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s net profit and larger one-off items, was down by 2.8 percent to SEK809 million.
Profit before income tax was down by 18.2 percent to SEK732 million, while profit for the period was down by 21.7 percent to SEK580 million.
Earnings per share (EPS) were down by 21.8 percent to SEK2.91; EPS excluding larger one-off items was down by three-tenths of a percent to SEK2.91
“In the first quarter, Swedish Match reported increased sales and stable operating profit when adjusted for currency effects and investments in international snus expansion,” said CEO Lars Dahlgren in reporting the results.
“For snus in Scandinavia, it is positive to note the continued strong market growth in both Sweden and Norway. In Sweden, the growth was driven by value-priced products, and relative to the last quarter of 2013, Swedish Match gained share in this growing segment of the market in line with our ambitions. Swedish Match underlying snus volumes in Scandinavia in the quarter are estimated to have increased by 1 percent, and sales were flat in local currencies.
“In the U.S. moist snuff market, our pouch and tub offerings continued their strong performance in the quarter. For General snus in the U.S., we continued our focused efforts to grow the brand and the snus category with a high level of consumer engagement activities and to a lesser extent expanded distribution.
“Within other tobacco products, we once again saw a solid development for our chewing tobacco business, in part due to timing effects, but also due to strong performance for our premium Red Man brand as well as increased contract manufacturing deliveries.
“For cigars, a strong performance for our Game natural wrapper cigars contributed to a 5 percent overall volume growth, while revenues remained flat and operating profit declined somewhat as the category has become more promotional.
“Our lights business continued its solid performance during the quarter, with growth in sales and profits for lighters, and sales growth for matches in local currencies.”