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Swedish Match AB

 

Timeline showing yearly timelines in the history of Swedish Match, described in the text below.  1992 AB Svenska Tobaksmonopolet Svenska Tändsticks AB 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010  

1992 | Swedish Match acquired by Procordia

In 1992, the listed company, Procordia, with Volvo and the Swedish state as principal owners, acquired the match and lighter business named Swedish Match. The operations were incorporated into the Procordia’s business operations, the Procordia United Brands division and the entire new business was renamed to Swedish Match, to capitalize on the internationally known company name. The acquired company became the Parent Company in the subsidiary with Klaus Unger as President.

The intention was to supplement the tobacco business, which at the time consisted of STA (Svenska Tobaks), EBAS (Elisabeth Bas) and Pinkerton, with an international network and thus improve the efficiency of marketing, sales and distribution. Procordia United Brands also had a fairly large confectionery division.

1993 | Procordia United Brands streamlined, Volvo owned 74 percent

Most of the confectionery operations in Procordia United Brands were divested in 1993. Procordia was divided into two independent companies by distributing the shares in Branded Consumer Products AB (BCP) to its own shareholders and renaming Procordia to Pharmacia AB.

Volvo increased holdings

In 1993, as a result of the splitting up of Procordia and the subsequent exchange of shares between Procordia’s two principal owners, Volvo and the Swedish state, Volvo ended up with a holding of approximately 74 percent of BCP.

Head office moved to Nyon

Swedish Match’s head office was transferred to Nyon, just outside Genève, where the head office of the former Swedish Match’s lighter and match operations was already located.

1994 | Swedish Match acquired by Volvo

During 1994, Volvo acquired the remaining shares in Branded Consumer Products AB through a public takeover bid and the subsequent compulsory acquisition of the shares outstanding in BCP.

Independent company within the Volvo Group

After Volvo’s takeover, Swedish Match functioned as an independent company within the Volvo Group. Tobacco, match and lighter operations were merged into a single Group, with Swedish Match as the Parent Company. Volvo acquired 100 percent.

1996 | Listing of Swedish Match AB

Split of the Volvo share

At the 1996 Volvo Annual General Meeting, a decision was made to list Swedish Match on the Stock Exchange and to distribute the company’s shares to shareholders in the company – the Volvo share was split into one Volvo share and one Swedish Match share.  

Listing on the Stockholm Stock Exchange and NASDAQ

As of May 1996, Swedish Match was once again listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, with the company’s former Vice President Bernt Magnusson as Chairman of the Board and Göran Lindén as President succeeding Klaus Unger. The share was also listed on NASDAQ.

Head office moved back to Stockholm

The head office was moved from Nyon, Switzerland, back to the historical offices of Svenska Tobaks on Södermalm in Stockholm.

1997 | Acquisition of match operation

Common corporate structure

On January 1, 1997, Swedish Match was reorganized. From having been a holding company comprising four independent groups of companies with different geographical and historical bases, the operation was formed into a single group of companies with global product divisions and regional sales organizations for all products. 

All operations under the name of Swedish Match

All operations were conducted under the Swedish Match name, which represented a tangible change for most of the Group’s employees. A comprehensive Group project – the Swedish Match Global Challenge, which involved entering its own yacht in the Whitbread Around-the-World Race – was launched.

Acquisition of R.J. Reynolds’ cigar production

During the year, R. J. Reynolds’ cigar production in Finland was acquired, with an annual volume of approximately 50 million cigars corresponding to a share of slightly more than 60 percent of the Finnish market.

Match operations acquired

Swedish Match also acquired a majority holding in two investment companies in Singapore, which owned 39 percent of the shares of the Indian match company, Wimco Ltd., one of the largest match manufacturers in the world. A majority interest was also acquired in Bulgaria’s only match manufacturer, PLAM Bulgarski Kibrit, and an agreement was signed with Turkish KAV Orman Sanayii for a joint venture to develop matches and other Swedish Products in Turkey and in other countries in the region.

Increased tobacco tax

During 1997, tobacco tax on cigarettes was increased in Sweden by a total of 63 percent, which led to an increase in black market sales at the expense of the legitimate trade.

1998 | Acquisition of distribution company in Australia

Foothold on the Australian continent

During the year, Swedish Match gained a foothold on the Australian continent through the acquisition of the Alexander Group – Australia’s leading cigar distributor, with premium cigars as one of its main products. Swedish Match’s position in the region was consolidated with the takeover of the distribution company, Beraha & Co Ltd, in Hong Kong. The match, lighter and firelighter activities of the Australian company, Bryant & May, with distribution in Australia and New Zealand, were also acquired.

Tax cut on cigarettes

In view of the increasing black market trade in cigarettes in Sweden, the Swedish parliament voted to cut the tax on cigarettes by approximately 30 percent on the then prevailing prices.

Increased dividend through share redemption program

During the year, in addition to the ordinary dividend, SEK 1.2 billion was transferred to shareholders through a share redemption program.

Sundén new President and CEO

Lennart Sundén succeeded Göran Lindén as President and CEO.

Commencement of rationalization

A rationalization and restructuring program was initiated with the objective of saving approximately SEK 200 million annually.

1999 | Cigarette operation divested. Acquisition of cigar company. 

Concentration on niche products

In view of the global changes taking place within the tobacco industry, Swedish Match revised and focused its strategies. A decision was made that the company would concentrate on niche products in future. The core of Swedish Match’s operations were to be the breadth and depth of knowledge regarding snus and chewing tobacco (smokefree tobacco), as well as cigars and pipe tobacco (brown tobacco). These product groups were to be supplemented by matches and lighters. 

New organization

As part of the process of adapting to the revised strategy, the old matrix organization was replaced by an organization based on six divisions with clearly defined profit responsibilities. This was to help to sharpen the company’s market orientation and to integrate Group management and the operative units more closely.

Cigarette operation divested to Austria Tabak

During the summer of 1999, the cigarette operation was sold to Austria Tabak and Swedish Match thus exited the largest, yet declining, sub-sector within the tobacco industry. The divestment was an important step in the process of concentrating on growth products. An agreement was reached with Austria Tabak on the continued distribution of cigarettes in the Swedish market.

Acquisition of US cigar company

During the year, General Cigars, a US cigar manufacturer of machine-made cigars was acquired, with such brands as Garcia y Vega. In addition, El Credito, one of the main premium cigar companies in the US was acquired, with such well-known brands as La Gloria Cubana. As a result of these acquisitions, Swedish Match now covered all price segments in the US cigar market.

Acquisition of snus and pipe tobacco company, Leonard Dingler

In South Africa, Leonard Dingler Ltd was acquired, which manufactures and sells snus and pipe tobacco in the South African market. 

2000 | Acquisition of 64 percent of General Cigar and distribution company in South Africa

Swedish Match acquired 64 percent of US General Cigar, a manufacturer of the most popular premium cigar in the US, Macanudo, and several other premium cigars, including Partagas, Punsch, Hoyo de Monterrey and Cohiba. Thus, Swedish Match assumed the leading position within premium cigars in the US.
The leading tobacco distributor in South Africa, Brasant Enterprises, was acquired, which strengthened Swedish Match’s presence in South Africa and nearby markets. 

2001 | More acquisitions

Swedish Match acquired British American Tobacco’s pipe tobacco operations in South Africa. The position in the Italian market was strengthened through the acquisition of Maga s.p.a., one of the leading distributors of tobacco products in Italy. In addition, a European snus operation was acquired from Premium Tobacco Traders Ltd, with brands including Singelton and Rumney’s.

2003 | Swedish Match in the Slovenian market. New, modern snus plant in Kungälv

Swedish Match acquired the distribution company, CYAN d.o.o., in Slovenian, which provided distribution channels for primarily all cigars but also other tobacco products and accessories. 

The same year, the world’s most high-tech plant for snus manufacturing was opened in Kungälv, Sweden.

2004 | New President of Swedish Match

Lennart Sundén resigned his position as President and CEO of Swedish Match. The Vice President, Sven Hindrikes, was appointed President and CEO.

Delisting from NASDAQ

Swedish Match was delisted from NASDAQ in October 2004.

More acquisitions

Swedish Match acquired the US company UST’s cigar operation and a distribution company in Poland. 

2005 | Acquisition of 100 percent of General Cigar

Swedish Match acquired the remaining shares in General Cigar and thus owned 100 percent of the company.

Match businesses divested

Swedish Match divests match businesses in a number of markets, including Arenco.

2006 | Acquisition of premium cigars

In Europe, the Hajenius and Oud Kampen brands were acquired, both of which are premium cigars that are sold primarily in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, as well as in the exclusive cigar shop Hajenius in Amsterdam.

2007 | More cigar acquisitions. New Chairman of the Board

Acquisition of Bogaert Cigars

Swedish Match acquired the Belgium cigar company, Bogaert Cigars, with a product portfolio comprising machine-made cigars/cigarillos under the Bogart and Hollandia brands, as well as private label cigars/cigarillos. Bogaert’s primary markets are France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. 

Acquisition of Cigars International Inc.

Swedish Match acquired Cigars International Inc., a US company within direct marketing and Internet sales of hand-rolled and machine-made premium cigars.

New Chairman of the Board

Conny Karlsson succeeded Bernt Magnusson as Chairman of the Board.

2008 | Lars Dahlgren new President of Swedish Match

Lars Dahlgren succeeded Sven Hindrikes as President and CEO.

2009 | Joint venture with Philip Morris International

Swedish Match and Philip Morris International announced global joint venture to commercialize smokefree tobacco products.

South African operation divested

Swedish Match AB divests its South African operation, Swedish Match South Africa (Proprietary) Limited (“SMSA”) to Philip Morris International. 

2010 | Swedish Match and STG forms a new company

Swedish Match and Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) creates a global company with leading market positions in cigars, pipe tobacco and fine cut tobacco.

2011 | Swedish Match Bulgarian fireproducts company divested

Swedish Match AB divests its fire products factory in Bulgaria to Euro Fire Products Limited.