Swedish Match (Svenska Tandsticks)first quarter 2008 report..

April 27, 2008 - Swedish Match (Svenska Tandsticks)first quarter 2008 report.. Snuff/Snus: In Scandinavia, sales volumes measured in number of cans, were up by 8 percent during the first quarter compared to the previous year. As a result of the tax increase (effective January 1, 2008) sales volumes were unusually low in the first quarter of both 2007 and 2008. In the US, sales volumes during the first quarter were up by 22 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. Volumes for Longhorn and Timber Wolf combined were up by 7 percent. Volumes of Red Man moist snuff contributed significantly to the volume increase, as the brand began to be rolled out nationally. Cigars: Excluding the impact of acquisitions, sales in local currencies were down approximately 25 percent for premium cigars in the US primarily due to lower shipments to national accounts and trade destocking. It is expected that in the coming quarters there will be a return to more normal shipment levels for premium cigars. Sales of mass market cigars in the US also decreased. Higher shipments are expected for mass market cigars in the US from new product launches going forward. For the remainder of the year, sales and operating profit in the US should therefore improve. Chewing tobacco: sold primarily on the North American market, mainly in the southern US. Swedish Match is the leading producer of chewing tobacco in the US. Well known brands include Red Man and Southern Pride. The chewing tobacco segment shows a declining trend. During the first quarter, sales declined by 12 percent. Pipe tobacco and accessories: Swedish Match is one of the world’s largest pipe tobacco companies. The Borkum Riff brand is sold in over 60 countries. During the first quarter, sales declined by 3 percent. Lights: Swedish Match is the market leader in a number of markets for matches. The Group’s main brand for disposable lighters is Cricket. Swedish Match’s largest market for lighters is Russia. During the first quarter sales amounted to 347 MSEK (340), while operating profit amounted to 54 MSEK (57). Other operations include the distribution of tobacco products on the Swedish market, as well as corporate overheads. Sales in Other operations for the first quarter amounted to 484 MSEK (483). Sales were unusually low both in the first quarter of 2008 and 2007 as a result of high retail inventories at the beginning of the year in anticipation of the increased excise taxes for tobacco products.