Profit for Silk Cut owner rises to €47.7m in Ireland

Japan Tobacco International Ireland paid a €150m dividend to parent company during the year

According to a HSE report from 2018 there are still 864,000 smokers in the Republic.

According to a HSE report from 2018 there are still 864,000 smokers in the Republic.

 

The local arm of Silk Cut owner Japan Tobacco International (JTI) grew its profit by 40 per cent to €47.7 million last year while its turnover reversed a recent pattern of decline.

The company, which also owns the Camel and Benson & Hedges cigarette brands in addition to the Logic vaping brand, saw the market for its products fall 0.4 per cent in 2018 while its share of the cigarette market slipped marginally to 50.6 per cent, recently filed accounts show.

JTI Ireland Limited improved its sales by 2.6 per cent to €721 million last year and the company said this was “predominately generated by the sale and distribution of tobacco products in Ireland as well as some minor sales in electronic cigarettes and e-liquids”.

The Irish arm paid its Japan incorporated parent a €150 million dividend last year bringing total dividends in its past four financial years to €300 million.

According to a HSE report from 2018 there are still 864,000 smokers in the Republic. Figures released in November showed that the number of people taking up e-cigarettes is lower than the amount who have quit smoking in recent years. According to the Healthy Ireland survey, around 246,000 people use vapes regularly, roughly one in 20 people in the Republic.

Market share

Despite the decline, JTI Ireland’s directors said the “present level of activity is expected to be sustained for the foreseeable future”. Silk Cut and Benson & Hedges remained the biggest brands in the company’s portfolio with a market share of 21.5 per cent and 15.1 per cent respectively, both dipping slightly on the previous year.

During the year JTI Ireland increased its headcount by three to 94 during the year with staff paid a total of €8.3 million, an average of €89,127 each.

JTI was the last manufacturer of cigarettes on this island. It entered the Irish market with the acquisition in 2007 of the Gallahers tobacco business.

In 2015 it announced plans to make 800 workers in its Ballymena cigarette factory – the last tobacco manufacturing plant in the country – redundant. The closure of the Lisnafillan site completed in early 2017 with cigarette production moving to Poland and Romania.

Their decision coincided with the introduction of plain packaging, something the Irish subsidiary had lobbied against and challenged in the courts.