Sales of Local Cigarette Brands Slump in Bulgaria

Industry | February 28, 2012, Tuesday // 12:01|  views

Bulgartabac workers staged numerous protests against its sale to the sole remaining bidder in the public procurement procedure, slamming it as a daylight robbery. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

In January 2012, the sales of Bulgarian-made cigarettes have registered a drastic collapse, compared to January 2011, according to the records of "Bulgartabac" and "Kings Tobacco."

The information was reported by the Bulgarian "Capital" daily Tuesday.

"Bulgartabac" Holding, which was privatized in September 2011, has shown a steady trend of shrinking of its market share – from over 74% in 2007 to 37% at the end of 2010, but the data for "Kings Tobacco" is a surprise, according to "Capital."

The Plovdiv-based company was acquired in 2009 by a business close to the "Vinprom Peshtera" alcohol distillery and maker, and in the first year reached a 6% market share, going all the way up to 15% in 2011, but it had recently lost 2% from them.

Experts say a possible reason could be that "Kings Tobacco" are no longer much interested in developing their brands since indirectly they are part of the new ownership of "Bulgartabac"- a claim that remains unconfirmed and is denied by the Plovdiv company.

"Our production is mainly for export, but still this slump is alarming and we are taking measures against it," Milen Shterev, Marketing Manager of "Kings Tobacco" told "Capital."

The decrease of "Bulgartabac" is now under the critical 34% registered in September 2011, and currently 80% of its revenues come from export all while sales of foreign-manufactured cigarettes in Bulgaria are growing – led by Philip Morris, followed by the Greek Karelia.

Legal sales of cigarettes in Bulgaria are estimated at BGN 2 B for 2011, while contraband ones have about 22% of the market.

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Tags: Kings Tobacco, Philip Morris, Bulgaria, Bulgaria, Bulgartabac, Bulgartabac Holding, cigarette-maker, cigarettes, privatization, Karelia, local, cigarettes, market, share, sales, contraband


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