February 14, 2018 / 7:56 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Swedish Match sees 2018 growth for Scandinavian snus market, Q4​ profit beats expectations

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Feb 14 (Reuters) - Tobacco group Swedish Match said on Wednesday it expected the Scandinavian snus market to continue to grow in 2018 and remain highly competitive as it reported higher than expected fourth-quarter operating profit and dividend.

* Q4 - ‍in local currencies, sales increased by 6 percent for q4 and by 3 percent for full year​

* Says ‍board proposes a dividend of 16.60 SEK per share consisting of an increased ordinary dividend of 9.20 sek (8.50) and a special dividend of 7.40 SEK, following final sale of shares in STG​

* Q4 ‍reported sales increased by 2 percent to SEK 4,044 million (3,957)

* Q4 ‍reported operating profit from product areas increased by 9 percent to SEK 1,044 million (954)

* Q4 snus and snuff operating margin ‍​43.6 percent versus Reuters poll forecast 42.0 percent

* Reuters poll: Q4 EBIT seen at SEK 996 million, net sales seen at SEK 3.97 billion

* Reuters poll: EBIT from product areas seen at SEK 996 mln, ordinary dividend seen at SEK 8.90/share according to median forecast

* Says for 2018, on a full year basis, expects the Scandinavian snus market to continue to grow and to remain highly competitive‍​

* Says in the U.S. moist snuff market, we expect continued good growth for pouches, expects the U.S. snus/nicotine pouch market to grow

* Says for U.S. chewing tobacco we expect continued market declines, while for chew bags in Europe we expect continued market growth

* Says the operating loss for snus and nicotine pouches outside Scandinavia is expected to be noticeably lower in 2018 than in 2017

* Says for the full year, expects continued growth in the us cigar market Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (Reporting By Olof Swahnberg)

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