Swedish Match

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Swedish Match AB
Publicly traded Aktiebolag
Traded asNasdaq StockholmSWMA
ISINSE0000310336 Edit this on Wikidata
IndustryPersonal & household goods[1]
PredecessorSvenska Tändsticks AB
Jönköpings Tändsticksfabrik[2]
Svenska Tobaksmonopolet[2]
Founded1915; 105 years ago (1915)[2]
Stockholm, Sweden
Key people
Conny Karlsson (Board chairman), Lars Dahlgren (President and CEO)[3]
RevenueIncrease SEK 12.966 billion (2018)[3]
Increase SEK 4.812 billion (2018)[3]
Increase SEK 3.578 billion (2018)[3]
Total assetsIncrease SEK 13.987 billion (end of 2018)[3]
Total equityDecrease SEK −5.595 billion (end of 2018)[3]
Number of employees
5,662 (average 2018)[3]

Swedish Match AB is a Swedish company based in Stockholm that makes snus, moist snuff, and chewing tobacco (with its Red Man brand). These products are known as moist smokeless tobacco. The company also makes machine-made cigars, matches, and lighters and sells batteries, light bulbs and disposable razors. Swedish Match operates in 11 countries and has approximately 5,700 employees (2018). The products are sold globally, with a majority of sales originating in Scandinavia and the United States.[3]

The Swedish Match share has been listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, large cap segment, since 1996, with the ticker symbol SWMA. It is a constituent of the OMX Stockholm 30 index.[1][3] In 2018, approximately 64 percent of the trades by number of shares were done at Nasdaq Stockholm, 16 percent at Chi-X, 15 percent at BATS, and 5 percent at Turquoise. The group had total sales of approximately SEK 13.0 billion in 2018, with an operating profit from product segments of SEK 4.9 billion. Snus and moist snuff accounted for 47 percent of sales and 57 percent of operating profit from product segments.[3]

Exterior of Swedish Match headquarters at Sveavägen, Stockholm, as of 2015


The operations of Swedish Match originate from two companies: Svenska Tobaksmonopolet, a tobacco monopoly owned by the Swedish state and founded in 1915, and Svenska Tändsticks Aktiebolaget (STAB), a match manufacturing company founded in 1917 by Ivar Kreuger (also known as the ”Match King”) in connection with the acquisition of Jönköpings Tändsticksfabrik.[2][4] In 1992, the tobacco and lights operations were joined in the Procordia Group. Two years later, they were merged into an independent company named Swedish Match, which became publicly listed in 1996.[2]

During parts of its existence, most recently between 2010 and 2015, the company has been headquartered in the so-called Matchstick Palace, commissioned by Ivar Krueger in the late 1920s.[5][6]

Svenska Tändsticks AB (STAB)
In 1917, Ivar Kreuger founded Svenska Tändsticks Aktiebolaget (STAB) in Jönköping (also known as "City of the matches").[2][4] It was a merger between Aktiebolaget Förenade Tändsticksfabriker and Jönköpings & Vulcans Tändsticksfabriksaktiebolag.[2] A year later, STAB was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.[2][7] By expanding through acquisition of government-created monopolies by lending money to the governments, and through mergers with for instance the British match company Bryant and May in 1927, it became the world's largest match manufacturer.[4][8] In 1930, the company controlled 60 percent of the world's match production and was the sole owner of match companies in 33 countries.[2]

Following the death of Ivar Kreuger in 1932, the ownership structure in STAB changed and a number of factories were liquidated. During 1938, STAB's share of the world's matchmaking fell to 20 percent.[2] When the match market declined sharply in the 1950s, STAB looked for new business ventures and acquired more than 50 companies between 1968 and 1976.[2]

In 1980, Svenska Tändsticks AB changed its name to Swedish Match to create unity throughout the group.[2] In 1988 the company was acquired by Stora AB and was sold two years later to Nederlight.[9][10][11] After another two years, Procordia acquired Swedish Match.[2]

AB Svenska Tobaksmonopolet
In 1915, the Swedish government founded AB Svenska Tobaksmonopolet and nationalized all Swedish tobacco production plants. The monopoly was introduced in order to give the government funds to finance the country's military defense and a new national pension system.[2]

During the 1960s, the monopoly on production, import and sale of tobacco was abolished in Sweden. Svenska Tobaksmonopolet was converted to a new state-owned company named Svenska Tobaks AB.[2] In 1971, the ownership of the tobacco group was transferred to Statsföretag, the Swedish Sovereign Wealth Fund, which in 1984 was renamed Procordia.[2]

As a result of the monopoly being abolished and in order to broaden the market, the Dutch cigar company Elisabeth Bas/La Paz (EBAS), the American tobacco manufacturer Pinkerton Tobacco Company (maker of Red Man, a chewing tobacco brand introduced in the US in 1904) and the Dutch cigar producer Willem II were acquired between 1968 and 1989.[2][12] In 1989, Procodia was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. Volvo acquired part of Procordia in 1990 and became the principal owner together with the Swedish government.[2] To complement the tobacco business, Procordia, in 1992, acquired the match and lighter company Swedish Match from Nederlight.[2]

Swedish Match AB
In 1992, the listed company Procordia acquired the match and lighter business named Swedish Match. The operations of Swedish Match were integrated with Procordia United Brands, one of Procordia's business operations, and was renamed Swedish Match to take advantage of international name recognition. In 1994, Swedish Match functioned as an independent company and was later, in 1996, listed on the OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm AB and on Nasdaq.[2][13]

In 1999, the company sold its cigarette manufacturing to Austria Tabak but is still active as a distributor of cigarettes on the Swedish market.[2] In the same year, Swedish Match expanded its cooperation with PT. Java Match Factory (Jamafac), the biggest safety matches manufacturer in Indonesia, to a joint venture agreement in order to strengthen its position within lights and matches in Southeast Asia. Jamafac was divested in 2005 and now has a license agreement with Swedish Match to produce matches and distribute Cricket lighters in Indonesia.[14][15][16]

In 2009, Swedish Match entered an agreement with Philip Morris International and formed the joint venture company SMPM International for exploring and developing new markets for snus and other smokefree tobacco products outside Scandinavia and the United States. The collaboration placed test markets in Tel Aviv, Israel; St. Petersburg, Russia; Taiwan; and nationwide Canada. The joint venture was dissolved in 2015. The companies had an ownership of 50 percent each in SMPM International.[17][18][19][20][21]

In 2010, Swedish Match and Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) formed a new company specialized in cigars. Swedish Match brought its entire cigar business (with the exception of U.S. mass market cigars) and pipe tobacco into the new company, while STG transferred all of its tobacco business. The new company took over the name Scandinavian Tobacco Group. Swedish Match became a partner with 49 percent of the company, and the remaining shares were owned by Skandinavisk Holding A/S. In 2016, STG became publicly listed, and Swedish Match sold most of its shares in the company.[2][22][23][24][25][26][27]

Snus, a tobacco product marketed by Swedish Match


Snus, moist snuff, cigars, chewing tobacco, matches and lighters are Swedish Match's main products. They are developed, manufactured, distributed, marketed and sold through the company's five operating units.[13][28][29] The company also sells razors, batteries, light bulbs, and tooth picks on the Brazilian market.[30][31]

  • Scandinavia Division
  • US Division
  • Lights Latin America
  • Lights International
  • SMD Logistics AB

Scandinavia Division
The Scandinavia Division is responsible for the supply chain management for the Group's smokeless tobacco products (snus, moist snuff and chewing tobacco). It is also in charge of production, product development, marketing and sales of snus in Sweden and Norway. In addition to this, the division is responsible for the Group's smokeless tobacco product research and development, at its facilities in Gothenburg, Kungälv, and Owensboro, Kentucky. The head office is located in Sweden.[32]

US Division
The US Division manages sales and marketing for snus, moist snuff and chewing tobacco in the US. It also handles marketing and supply chain management for mass market cigars on the US market. The head office is located in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Lights Latin America
The division Lights Latin America manufactures and markets matches and lighters in Latin America. It also sells razors, batteries, light bulbs, and toothpicks. The head office is based in Brazil.

Lights International
Produces lights and matches in the Netherlands, the Philippines and Sweden. The division also manufactures and markets these products outside Latin America. The head office is located in Sweden.

SMD Logistics AB
The SMD Logistics AB division, distributes mainly tobacco products to the Swedish market, approximately 10,000 stores, as well as over-the-counter drugs. The head office is located in Sweden.

Operating locations and factories[edit]

Swedish Match operates in ten countries and has production units in six of these: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Sweden and the US. The company has 12 factories, of which ten, in 2016, had ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications.[32][33]

The table below presents an overview of Swedish Match's operations as of 2016:[32][33]

Country Activity Factory Number of employees (average)
Dominican Republic Production unit Cigars 1,873
Sweden Head office, production units and sales offices Snus, matches 1,116
US Production units and sales offices Moist snuff, chewing tobacco 995
Brazil Production units and sales offices Lights 652
The Philippines Production units and sales offices Lights 270
Netherlands Production unit Lights 99
Norway Sales offices No 45
Turkey Sales offices No 15
Belgium Public Affairs offices No 3
Switzerland Treasury offices No 2

Production of matches and lighters
The matches produced by Swedish Match are safety matches and are manufactured in Sweden and Brazil.[34] The entity that produces matches in Sweden, Swedish Match Industries AB, is since 2009 certified according to the Forest Stewardship Council chain of custody standard and the standard for controlled wood.[34] The matches are manufactured according to the European match standards EN 1783:1997.[34][35] 40 percent of the production is sold in Europe and 60 percent to Africa, Central America, The Caribbean, Oceania and the Middle East.[36] The Swedish manufacturing facilities are located in Tidaholm and Vetlanda.[34][37][38] In Brazil, 95% of the wood consumption for safety matches and matchboxes is from Swedish Match's own plantations, which are managed according to standards that surpass legal requirements. The match manufacturing facilities in Brazil (Curitiba and Piraí do Sul) are not certified by ISO.[32] Swedish Match produces lighters in the Philippines, the Netherlands and Brazil.[30] The company's main lighter brand, Cricket, is manufactured according to ISO 9994:2006 and EN 13869 (child resistance), which are mandatory in the European Economic Community.[34]

Workplace and safety[edit]

In 2016, Swedish Match employed on average 5,070 people, of whom 38 percent were women.[39] All manufacturing facilities have health and safety committees that provide safety training and wellness programs to employees.[34]

Every year, Aon performs two audits of compliance at Swedish Match's manufacturing facilities. They inspect supplier contracts, human rights, occupational health and safety within the areas of social responsibility, workplace practices, business ethics and environment, and the absence of child labor and forced labor.[34] Swedish Match is a member in the ECLT Foundation (Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing) and is represented on the Board.[34] The table presents yearly employee related data for Swedish Match between 2011 and 2015:[34][40][41]

Occupational health and safety 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
Total number of working hours per year 9,660,049 8,807,576 9,020,184 8,696,129 7,991,220
Total number of injuries/accidents excluding minor (first-aid level) injuries/accidents 91 88 132 77 63
Total number of occupational illnesses 3 5 7 8 19
Total number of fatalities due to occupational illnesses/injuries/accidents 0 0 0 0 0


Swedish Match states in its annual report that its environmental efforts are focused on energy consumption, electricity, waste, water use in manufacturing, and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011, the company set environmental targets and performance indicators for 2016 at factory level.[42]


While today's Swedish Match still produces matches, the majority of its sales and operating profits comes from its smokeless tobacco products (snus and moist snuff) and other tobacco products (cigars and chewing tobacco).[42] In 2014, these tobacco products accounted for 59 percent of sales and 93 percent of Swedish Match's operating profit, whereas matches and lighters accounted for 10 percent of sales and 6 percent of operating profit.[42] Swedish Match generates most of its sales in Scandinavia, the US, and Brazil (98 percent of company sales in 2013) but also has a significant worldwide presence through its matches and lighters businesses.[42]

Snus and moist snuff[edit]

Scandinavia and the US are the primary markets for Swedish Match's tobacco products. The company is market leader in snus in both Sweden and Norway. In 2014, the operating profit for snus and moist snuff increased to 2,207 MSEK (2,195 MSEK in 2013).[30] The market for Scandinavian snus and the US moist snuff/snus is approximately 1.745 billion cans per year (345 million cans in Scandinavia and 1.4 billion cans in the US).[30][43][44] The snus market in the US is about $175 million, and Swedish Match has about 10 percent of the market.[30][44][45]

Cigars and chewing tobacco[edit]

In 2014, the US cigar market was estimated to more than 5 billion cigars (excluding little cigars) of which Swedish Match produced 1.1 billion sticks of cigars. The cigar market grew 9 percent compared to 2013 in terms of volume.[30][46] Swedish Match's share was even greater in the recent past, as a series of acquisitions between 1999 and 2010 including General Cigar and Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) which is the world's largest cigar producer and manufactures more than 50 percent of the world's pipe tobacco. Control of major brands such as Macanudo, Punch, Cohiba, CAO and La Gloria Cubana gave Swedish Match nearly 1/3 of the US premium cigar market in addition to its strong position in machine-made cigars. However, in 2014 Swedish Match, having reorganized its premium-cigar businesses under the STG umbrella, spun off STG as a public company.[47] Swedish Match's cigar business is now limited to machine-made mass-production brands such as White Owl and Garcia y Vega.[48]

Two thirds of the chewing tobacco sold in the US is produced by Swedish Match. Chewing tobacco is a 275 million US dollar market (manufacturers’ sales).[42][46] In 2014, the operating profit for cigars and chewing tobacco increased by 8 percent to 1,109 MSEK (1,029 MSEK in 2013).[30] In addition, Swedish Match holds a 49 percent ownership in Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) which is the world's largest cigar producer and manufactures more than 50 percent of the world's pipe tobacco. The company produces 3 billion cigars and 5,000 tons of pipe tobacco per year.[30][46][49]

Matches and lighters[edit]

Swedish Match supplies matches worldwide. The main markets for matches are Scandinavia, the UK, France, Spain, Australia and Brazil. For lighters, the most important markets are Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Scandinavia, France and UK.[42] In 2014, 81.5 billion matchsticks were produced and 422.5 million lighters. Sales for matches and lighters was 1,295 MSEK (1,332 MSEK in 2013) and the operating profit declined by 5 percent to 218 MSEK (230 MSEK in 2013).[30][42]

Main brands[edit]

Below are Swedish Match's main brands along with market information as of 2014:[30]

Product Brand Main markets Market share Competitors
Snus General, Göteborgs Rapé, Ettan, Grov, Catch, Kronan, Kaliber, Nick & Johnny and The Lab Sweden
70 percent (Sweden)
60 percent (Norway)
Imperial Tobacco, BAT, Japan Tobacco International
Moist snuff Longhorn, Timber Wolf, General, Red Man US 9 percent Altria, Reynolds American
Cigars White Owl, Garcia Y Vega, Game by Garcia y Vega US 22 percent Swisher, Altria, Imperial Tobacco
Chewing tobacco Red Man US 40 percent National Tobacco, Reynolds American, Swisher
Matches Solstickan, Fiat Lux, Swan, Feudor, Redheads, Tres Estrellas UK, Scandinavia, France, Spain, Australia, Brazil Market leader
Lighters Cricket Russia, Brazil, Scandinavia, UK, France, Asia Market leader in 2013 [42] Bic, Tokai, Flamagas

Swedish Match is also active on the Brazilian market with disposable razors, batteries, light bulbs and toothpicks under the Fiat Lux brand.

Market position and competition[edit]

Snus in Sweden[edit]

The table shows the market shares for snus in Sweden according to Nielsen, as of 12-week data to December 22, 2012.[46]

Company Market share
Swedish Match 75 percent
BAT (F&L) 11 percent
Imperial Tobacco (Skruf) 9 percent
Japan Tobacco International 5 percent

In 2014, Swedish Match estimated that its market share for snus in Sweden was 70 percent.[30] In 2015, estimates by Nielsen showed that market shares were down to 68.7 percent based on a four-week period to 22 February 2015.[50]

Snus and moist snuff in the US[edit]

In 2012, Swedish Match estimated that the company had a market share for snus and moist snuff of 10 percent in the US.[46] The market share has decreased to 9 percent according to Swedish Match and industry estimates for 2014.[30]

Company Market share
Swedish Match 10 percent
Altria (USSTC) 56 percent
Reynolds American (American Snuff Company) 32 percent
Other 1 percent


Nielsen estimated that Swedish Match had a market share of 17 percent for cigars in the US in 2012 (based on 12-week data to December 22, 2012).[46] In 2014, market shares increased to 22 percent according to Swedish Match estimates.[30]

Company Market share
Swedish Match 17 percent
Swisher 29 percent
Altria (Middleton) 29 percent
Imperial Tobacco (Altadis USA) 19 percent
Other 7 percent

Chewing tobacco[edit]

In 2014, Swedish Match estimated that the company had a 40 percent market share for chewing tobacco in the US.[30] This is a decrease with 8 percentage point compared to estimates for 2012 made by Nielsen (based on 12-week data to December 22, 2012).[46]

Company Market share
Swedish Match 48 percent
Reynolds American (American Snuff Company) 20 percent
National Tobacco 16 percent
Swisher 14 percent
Other 2 percent

Swedish Match in the US[edit]

In the US, Swedish Match produces and distributes the Longhorn, Timber Wolf and Red Man brands of moist snuff.[51] The company also expanded into the United States premium cigar business by purchasing General Cigar Company Inc. (producer of non-Cuban versions of Macanudo, Partagas and Punch) from Edgar Cullman and El Credito Cigar Company (producer of La Gloria Cubana and El Rico Habano) from Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. In October 2010, the company transferred its US premium cigar and European cigar businesses, as well as its pipe tobacco and accessories businesses, to a new company named Scandinavian Tobacco Group, while receiving a 49 percent ownership stake in the new company.[52][53]

In an effort to expand its snus business outside of Sweden and Norway, the company has, since 2009, been selling its Scandinavian market leading brand of snus, General, at tobacco retailers in the US.[18] The distribution of General snus has increased over the years, from being sold in approximately 10,000 stores in 2012 to more than 24,000 stores by the end of 2014.[42][46]

For the US, snus is a relatively new category while the main smokeless category is moist snuff. Moist snuff is made using a fermentation process and usually placed under the lower lip, requiring spitting. Snus is made using a steam heat process (much like pasteurisation) and is usually placed under the upper lip,[44] which means that spitting is not necessary.[further explanation needed]

Key people[edit]

Lars Dahlgren (born 1970) is president and CEO of Swedish Match since 2008. Conny Karlsson (born 1955) is chairman of the board since 2007 and board member since 2006.[54][55]

As of July 2017, Swedish Match has the following board of directors:[55]

Name Year of birth Position Year elected
Conny Karlsson 1955 Board chairman 2007
Andrew Cripps 1957 Deputy chairman 2006
Charles A. Blixt 1951 Board member 2015
Jacqueline Hoogerbrugge 1963 Board member 2015
Pauline Lindwall 1961 Board member 2017
Wenche Rolfsen 1952 Board member 2013
Joakim Westh 1961 Board member 2011
Patrik Engelbrektsson 1965 Employee representative 2013
Eva Larsson 1958 Employee representative 1999
Dragan Popovic 1973 Employee representative 2017
Joakim Andersson 1970 Deputy 2013
Niclas Ed 1968 Deputy 2017
Gert-Inge Rang 1954 Deputy 2007

President and CEO:[42]
Lennart Sundén, 1998–2004
Sven Hindrikes, 2004–2008
Lars Dahlgren, 2008–


As of June 2017, according to Euroclear Sweden, these were the 10 largest shareholders of Swedish Match:[56]

Shareholder Number of shares Percent of capital Percent of votes
BlackRock 9,947,174 5.5 5.5
Standard Life 7,374,389 4.1 4.1
Oppenheimer 6,317,547 3.5 3.5
AMF Insurance & Funds 5,277,367 2.9 2.9
Vanguard 4,639,447 2.6 2.6
Gabelli/GAMCO 4,424,300 2.4 2.5
Nordea Funds 4,203,862 2.3 2.3
First Swedish National Pension Fund 3,651,049 2.0 2.0
Invesco 3,021,445 1.7 1.7
Henderson Global Investors 2,716,194 1.5 1.5
Sum 51,572,774 28.4 28.7

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]