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PMI says Australian volume stable despite plain packs

Cigarette volume in Australia has remained stable following introduction of the world’s first plain-packaging law

last December, said Matteo Pellegrini, president of Philip Morris International’s Asia region.

 

“Six months after the implementation of plain packaging, the Australian market is not yet showing any significant changes in overall consumption patterns. Industry volume in the first quarter was essentially stable compared to the same period in 2012. As expected, and partially because of the February price increase, we've seen a modest acceleration in the growth of the lower price segments,” Pellegrini said in the prepared text of remarks made to a meeting of PMI investors in Singapore.

Industry volume in the first quarter of 2013 at 4 billion sticks was the same as the first three months of 2012, according to data presented by PMI. Sales of premium-price brands at 15.9 per cent of the market were lower than the 17.5 per cent recorded in 2012. Sales of super discount cigarettes rose to 9.8 per cent in the first quarter. Last year the segment accounted for 5.4 per cent of the market.

Pellegrini said he was hopeful challenges to the Australian packaging law before the World Trade Organisation and a suit based on a bilateral treaty filed by Philip Morris Asia would succeed. The challenges likely will take several years to resolve, he added. (04 June 2013)