Indonesia - Cigarette makers defy crisis, grows stronger..

June 8, 2009 - First-quarter 2009 cigarette sales jumped 11.5%

Around 59.7 percent of the first quarter sales comprised machine-rolled clove cigarettes, 32.2 percent hand-rolled clove cigarettes and 8 percent machine-rolled non-clove cigarettes. While booking a 2.5 percent rise in sales volume to 18.1 billion sticks from 17.7 billion, the market share of Sampoerna-branded cigarettes dropped to 24.3 percent from 25 percent.

The consolidated market share of the Sampoerna brand and the Philip Morris brand was also very slightly down to 29 percent from 29.5 percent. But the Philip Morris market share rose to 4.7 percent from 4.5 percent. Sampoerna is controlled by US-based cigarette giant Philip Morris, which includes the world famous Marlboro brand.

Sampoerna did not explain the reasons behind the slight decline in the market share of its Sampoerna-brand nor the rise in its overall cigarette sales. The company's president director, Kevin Douglas Click, only said he was upbeat sales would remain stronger this year. Indonesia is a haven for smokers as Vice President Jusuf Kalla once said that the country had the cheapest cigarette prices in the world due to its low excise taxes.

Aside from Sampoerna and Philip Morris, the country also houses five other renowned giant tobacco companies; PT Gudang Garam, PT Djarum, PT Nojorono, PT Bentoel, and PT British American Tobacco (BAT) Indonesia.

Sampoerna's rival publicly listed BAT, which sells international brands including Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Dunhill, Ardath, Kansas and Commfil, announced Wednesday that sales volume was still growing even though Indonesia was still facing negative effects from the economic downturn. The company, however, suffered a decline in its market share during the first quarter of the year to 2 percent down from 2.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

BAT refused to explain any details on the drop in its market share, and sales volume.
BAT president director Ian Morton merely said that the tobacco industry in Indonesia was more resilient than other sectors in confronting the crisis.

Reference: Cigarette makers defy crisis, grows stronger,
The Jakarta Post, 5/28/2009.

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