Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TTM) has gradually lost market share to imported cigarettes since the country lifted the tax barrier two decades ago, says director-general Torsak Chotimongkol.
Local cigarettes still claim 76% of the market, but foreign cigarettes are likely to gain one percentage point to 25% by the end of this year.
Mr Torsak said TTM is trying to regain market share in the middle- to upper-income markets dominated by imported cigarettes while also keeping its low-income base. "We need to protect our share from imports, as our margin is quite thin," he said.
TTM cigarettes make up 33% of the market, legally imported cigarettes make up 12%, smuggled smokes contribute 10% and roll-it-yourself tobacco comprises 45%, said Mr Torsak.
Roll-it-yourself tobacco has gained rapidly as a result of the tax waiver for local breeds of tobacco, while the tobacco produced by TTM is taxed at 1,000 baht a kilogramme.
Last year TTM had total sales of 36 billion units for 70 billion baht, and this year will likely be similar.
"If TTM can expand overseas, our sales may reach 100 billion baht, as we are now attempting to enter into Japan, the US and Europe to build up our brand," said Tanusak Lekuthai, deputy finance minister.
About the author
- Writer: Wichit Chantanusornsiri
Position: Business Reporter