Tobacco group JTI Ireland sees rise in profits

Firm reports operating profits of €21 million, up from €17 million the previous year

Turnover at JTI Ireland fell to just over €652 million last year, compared with almost €659 million in 2013. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Turnover at JTI Ireland fell to just over €652 million last year, compared with almost €659 million in 2013. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

 

Pretax profit at tobacco distributor JTI Ireland rose sharply in 2014 despite a fall-off in demand for cigarettes in the Irish market.

Accounts for the company, which makes various brands of cigarettes, said its share of the cigarette market had increased slightly to 51.1 per cent, at a time when the overall market for cigarettes had fallen 5.7 per cent compared with the previous year.

Turnover at JTI Ireland fell to just over €652 million last year, compared with almost €659 million in 2013.

Expenses

The company trimmed expenses to leave it with an operating profit of €21 million, up from €17 million in the previous year. That led to a pretax profit of almost €20 million, compared with €15.1 million in 2013.

The company was hit with a loss on retirement benefits of almost €32 million, which delivered a bottom line loss of €15 million for 2014.

JTI Ireland is part of the Japan Tobacco International group, which bought Gallaher in 2007. The Irish operations began trading as JTI Ireland in 2009, employing 100.

Redundancies

In January, Japan Tobacco International announced it would proceed with plans to close the Gallaher’s cigarette company in Ballymena, Co Antrim, with the loss of 800 jobs. It is moving production from the North to facilities in Poland and Romania.

Redundancies are set to begin in May, with the plant wound down fully by 2017.

The closure of the Ballymena plant means cigarettes will no longer be manufactured in Ireland. Rival PJ Carroll closed its last operations in 2008, moving production to central Europe.

JTI’s decision to close the plant coincides with the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products in Ireland, something the Irish subsidiary had lobbied against. The firm brought a legal challenge to the directive this year.