RIGA - Scandinavian Tobacco announced this week that it posted earnings of 2.9 million lats (4.3 million euros) on its Latvian operations in the financial year ending July 1, 2005, up from a loss in the previous financial year, while sales soared 34 percent to 32.6 million lats.
"The company's results were boosted by a broader range of products supplied on the local market as well as successful production of private brands of cigarettes for companies of the Scandinavian Tobacco group," said spokeswoman Marita Jansone.
She added that the company was producing cigarettes for both EU member states and other countries.
The company will channel the profit toward covering last year's losses as well as toward future development, she said.
During the next financial year, the company plans to continue investing in cigarette-brand marketing and develop cooperation with British American Tobacco, said Jansone.
In the financial year 2003/04, ending on July 1, Scandinavian Tobacco operated at a loss of 1.2 million lats on sales of 24.3 million lats.
Scandinavian Tobacco was founded in 1992 as a joint venture of Latvia and Denmark. In 2001, the company was fully transferred to Danish ownership. The company currently employs over 300 people in Latvia and is producing over 20 brands of cigarettes, as well as cigars, tobacco and other products.
All in all, the Scandinavian Tobacco group consists of seven tobacco producers and two traders, including House of Prince, one of the largest cigarettes producers in Northern Europe, Henri Wintermans, the largest cigarette producer in Europe, and Orlik, the world's second largest producer of smoking tobacco.