Outlook and risk factors
Swedish Match expects that the trend of increased interest from consumers, industry players and regulators in less harmful alternatives to cigarettes will continue.
Swedish Match takes pride in paving the way with its vision of a world without cigarettes. By providing products that are recognized as safer alternatives to cigarettes, our ambition is to create value for both shareholders and the society.
For 2018, on a full year basis, Swedish Match expects the Scandinavian snus market to continue to grow and to remain highly competitive. In the US moist snuff market, we expect continued good growth for pouches. Swedish Match also expects the US snus/nicotine pouch market to grow. For US chewing tobacco we expect continued market declines, while for chew bags in Europe we expect continued market growth.
We will continue to invest in growth for snus and nicotine pouches outside Scandinavia. We will also increase the availability of nicotine pouches to Swedish consumers and explore new market opportunities for chew bags. The operating loss for snus and nicotine pouches outside Scandinavia is expected to be noticeably lower in 2018 than in 2017. The decision to invest in ZYN production capacity in the US will predominantly affect capital expenditures in 2018.
For the full year, Swedish Match expects continued growth in the US cigar market. Swedish Match expects the US cigar market to remain highly competitive.
The effective corporate tax rate in 2018, excluding associated companies and any non-taxable larger one-time items, is expected to be around 21.5 percent (23.8). The expected reduction in tax rate is a consequence of the US corporate income tax reform effective January 1, 2018.
The Company remains committed to returning cash not needed in operations to shareholders.
Source: Swedish Match Interim Report January-December 2017.
Swedish Match faces intense competition in all of its markets and for each of its products and such competition may increase in the future. To remain successful, the Group must develop products and brands that resonate with changing consumer trends, and price and promote its brands competitively. Restrictions on advertising and promotion may, however, make it more difficult to counteract any loss of consumer loyalty. Competitors may develop and promote new products which could be successful, and could thereby have an adverse effect on Swedish Match results of operations.
Swedish Match has substantial sales in the US, with products sourced from local US production facilities and imports from Swedish Match’s production facilities in the Dominican Republic and in Sweden. Swedish Match also has operations in Brazil, Norway and EMU member countries. Consequently, changes in import duties as well as in exchange rates of the euro, Norwegian krone, Brazilian real, the Dominican peso and in particular the US dollar may adversely affect the Group’s results of operations, cash flow, financial condition or relative price competitiveness in the future. Such effects may occur both in local currencies and when such local currencies are translated into Swedish currency for purposes of financial reporting.
Regulatory developments and fiscal changes related to tobacco, corporate income and other taxes, as well as to the marketing, sale and consumption of tobacco products, in the countries where the Group is operating may have an adverse effect on Swedish Match results of operations.
For a further description of risk factors affecting Swedish Match, see the Report of the Board of Directors in the published Swedish Match annual report for 2017.