Tobacco exports expand to $350 million in 2006
Korea’s tobacco exports have expanded 25-fold over the past seven years as KT&G Corp., Korea’s only tobacco firm, sold more cigarettes to central Asian nations and the Middle East, the company said yesterday.
The total value of KT&G’s overseas sales soared from $14 million in 1999 to $350 million last year. The total number of cigarettes sold has surged from 2.6 billion to 31.2 billion during the same period.
“Our overseas sales goal for 2007 is 36.7 billion units, worth $450 million, which is up 18 percent and 28 percent from last year,” the company said in a statement. “Our overseas sales are expected to outpace domestic sales within several years.”
KT&G, a former state-run company privatized in 2002, first gained a foothold in overseas markets in 1992 by exporting a small amount of its Pine models to Middle East countries.
In the first half of 2006, the latest figure available, the company earned about 15 percent of its total revenue from overseas sales in some 40 foreign countries, including Iran, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia.
KT&G recently has made efforts to expand in China and Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia.
The company, facing pressure from a U.S. activist hedge fund led by Carl Icahn, announced a business plan in August that includes an increase in overseas sales to 700 billion won by 2010. As of November, the company had the biggest market share, 41 percent, in Iraq and the second-largest share, 25 percent, in Afghanistan.
by Jung Ha-won