Swedish Match profit rise beats forecasts helped by ZYN sales

STOCKHOLM, July 17 (Reuters) - Swedish Match on Friday beat second-quarter profit forecasts helped by U.S. sales of its ZYN tobacco-free nicotine pouches, lifting its shares.

Operating profit rose 16% to 1.67 billion Swedish crowns ($184 million) and topped the 1.57 billion expected by analysts in a Refinitiv Eikon poll.

Sales rose 11% to 4.13 billion crowns.

Swedish Match’s biggest businesses are its moist snuff “snus” in Scandinavia and cigars in the United States though the relatively new ZYN is growing fast.

“The Smokefree product segment was the key source of sales growth,” the company said.

“In the U.S., the destocking effects following trade hoarding during the first quarter were lower than anticipated.”

Swedish Match shares were up 7% in early trade, taking their year-to-date rise to 45%.

The rival to British American Tobacco and Altria had warned in April that the pandemic would negatively affect results in the second quarter after providing a boost in first.

$1 = 9.0790 Swedish crowns Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Jason Neely