Market for Lights
Swedish Match’s matches and lighters are sold across the globe and the most important markets are in Europe and Asia, as well as in Brazil and parts of Africa.
|Key data||2020||2019||Change, %|
|Operating profit, MSEK||222||238||-7|
|Operating margin, %||19.3||19.8|
|Matches, billion sticks||57.3||54.3||6|
|Lighters, million units||293||305||-4|
The match market is in a long term state of decline in most countries where Swedish Match has a presence. The largest Swedish Match markets are in Europe, Brazil, and parts of Africa.
- During the year, Swedish Match maintained significant or leading market positions in its largest markets for matches, including Sweden (Solstickan), Norway (Nitedals), Brazil (Fiat Lux) and Australia (Redheads).
- Sales for matches grew when adjusting for currency translation effects, as shipment volumes grew by 6 percent. Operating profit was also higher when adjusting for currencies as well as adjustments for positive one-time gains in both 2020 and 2019.
- During 2020, Swedish Match continued its cost and efficiency efforts at the factory level and successfully divested part of the forestry assets not needed in operations.
Market volumes are declining in most developed markets, while growing in many developing countries. The largest Swedish Match markets are located in Asia and Europe, while it also has a presence in North America and Brazil. The lighter business is characterized by variability in volumes and mix, depending on the timing and type of products delivered, geography, and currency fluctuations.
- As part of its sustainability efforts to reduce both waste and resources, nylon use for lighter production has been reduced. In addition, recycled nylon is now being used for lighter production at the Assen lighter factory including the Cricket Eco lighter which is made from 100 percent recycled nylon.
- Cricket lighters are well known for their quality, unique design and a number of safety features, such as a fixed flame technology, child safety mechanisms, and fire-resistant lighter bodies.
- Sales for lighters increased compared to the prior year on an underlying basis when excluding currency translation effects, but declined in reported currency. The underlying sales increase was mainly due to product mix. Operating profit for lighters benefitted from cost controls, reduced raw materials pricing (primarily nylon) and portfolio mix.
Swedish Match offers a portfolio of complementary products mainly on the Brazilian market, including disposable razors, batteries and light bulbs under the Fiat Lux brand. Reported sales for complementary products, compared to prior year, declined in SEK but increased excluding currency translation effects. The underlying increase was driven by solid growth across the Fiat Lux portfolio in Brazil.
Match competition varies widely between markets. Lighter competitors include Bic, Tokai, Flamagas, and a number of asian manufacturers.