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United States, Universal core tobacco sales flat

Universal Corp flue-cured/burley leaf sales and operating income were nearly unchanged in the fiscal year

ended 31 March as the impact of smaller crops outweighed the benefit from carryover crop sales, the tobacco merchant said.

 

A combination of low uncommitted inventories and no carryover sales in the current fiscal year may reduce overall shipping volume, the Virginia-based company said in a statement.

Operating income from flue-cured and burley in the 12 months to 31 March was USD 212.3 million (EUR 164.8 million), with more than 90 per cent coming from outside North America. Sales at USD 2.2 billion included USD 334.7 million in North America. Revenue from other tobaccos rose 7 per cent to USD 255.1 million and operating income gained USD 7.6 million to USD 20.5 million, the company said.

Fourth-quarter flue-cured and burley sales dipped USD 8.5 million to USD 539.8 million. Operating income declined USD 5.6 million to USD 34.5 million.

Assessing prospects for the current fiscal year, Chief Executive Officer George Freeman said, “we are seeing crop sizes increase in many of the key sourcing areas for flue-cured and burley tobacco in response to strong global leaf demand. Sales activity has also been robust, especially for quality flavour flue-cured styles of tobacco. Burley tobacco remains in high demand, and current year crop levels are not expected to meet global requirements.

“At the same time, our uncommitted inventories are near historic lows, limiting our ability to glean additional volumes from this source. In addition to the low uncommitted inventories, we will not have the benefit of carryover crop shipments which helped our results in the first and second quarters of fiscal year 2013. While we look forward to another productive year, total volumes shipped may be lower in fiscal year 2014,” he said. (22 May 2013)