[THE INVESTOR] Korean tobacco maker KT&G said on Feb. 1 that it saw a record high of 1.48 trillion won (US$1.3 billion) of overseas sales last year.
The company said it broke its previous record of 941.4 billion won of overseas sales in 2016, measured by sales from exports and overseas corporation.
This translates to a record high of 55.4 billion cigarettes sold overseas, an about 13.8 percent increase from 48.7 billion cigarettes in 2016.
KT&G first tapped the overseas market in 1988. It took about three decades to become the fifth-biggest tobacco maker in the world in terms of sales volume.
The company said its sales had grown more than twentyfold as of last year over the same period.
KT&G’s signature brands Esse and Pine have a strong presence in the Russian and Middle East markets.
The company currently operates local factories in countries including Russia, Turkey and Indonesia, and it plans to enter emerging markets, such as countries in Africa and Central and South America, in the near future.
As of last year, KT&G said sales of its three main businesses -- domestic tobacco products, tobacco products sold overseas and ginseng -- broke sales of 1 trillion won each.
On Feb. 1, the company also said it would pay annual cash dividends of 4,000 won per share, an 11.1 percent increase from last year’s 3,600 won.
By Kim Da-sol/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)