Japan Tobacco International (JTI) cigarette volume fell almost 4 per cent in the three months through June, although key-brand shipments were down only 0.3 per cent, the company announced.
Higher prices and marketing strategies boosted sales 3.8 per cent to USD 3.1 billion (EUR 2.3 billion) in foreign markets, the company said. Stripped of currency fluctuations, sales gained 5.8 per cent, JTI said.
In JTI regions, volume in south and west Europe declined 3.4 per cent and key brands fell 8.6 per cent, reflecting weak economies in southern-tier countries. Key brands increased 3.3 per cent in former countries of the Soviet Union, moderating an overall drop of 5.7 per cent, JTI said.
Volume in north and central Europe , a JTI region including the United Kingdom and Germany, increased 1.5 per cent with key brand shipments rising 5.2 per cent. Middle East instability contributed to a 3.2 per cent general and 2.4 per cent key-brand decline. Key brands, which the company calls its global flagship brands, are Winston, Camel, Mevius/Mild Seven and LD.
At home in Japan, sales and volume were nearly unchanged. Operating profit, defined as adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, declined 1.1 per cent as Japan Tobacco (JT) spent money to introduce new products and promote its rebranded Mevius cigarette.
Mevius domestic market share in the April-June reporting period rose to 60.5 per cent, compared with 59.6 per cent in the fiscal year ended 30 March. Domestic volume at JT outperformed the 2 per cent industry decline, the company noted.