Universal Corp. reported sales and other operating revenue of $517.7 million in the three months that ended June 30, 2023, up 20 percent over that posted during the same period last year. Operating income declined 17 percent to $11 million.
Tobacco operations sales and other operating revenues jumped 28 percent to $443.9 million, while Tobacco operations operating income increased 9 percent to $8.9 million.
“Our tobacco operations performed well and are off to a good start for our fiscal year 2024,” said Universal Corp. Chairman, President and CEO George C. Freeman III in a statement.
“Segment operating income was higher for our tobacco operations segment in the quarter ended June 30, 2023, compared to the quarter ended June 30, 2022, even though we did not have the benefit of large shipments of carryover tobacco from certain origins that we had in first quarter of fiscal year 2023.
“Demand for leaf tobacco from our customers remains strong, and our level of uncommitted tobacco inventory was 16 percent of tobacco inventory at June 30, 2023. We are forecasting increased leaf tobacco production in fiscal year 2024, compared to fiscal year 2023, and believe that even with that increased production, leaf tobacco will remain in an undersupply position.”
Freeman also expressed satisfaction with the progress Universal has made integrating its plant-based ingredients platform. He attributed soften-than-expected demand in this segment to high customer inventory levels, but anticipated this situation to be temporary.
“We believe that we are well-positioned to capitalize on demand from our customers, and that with the investments we are making, we are a stronger partner for current and future customers due to the expanded range of capabilities and products that we can offer them,” said Freeman.