• March 2, 2024

Universal’s Income Jumps 30 Percent

 Universal’s Income Jumps 30 Percent
Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

Universal reported sales and other operating revenue of $1.16 billion for the six months that ended Sept. 30, up 7 percent over that posted for the comparable 2022 period. Operating income jumped 30 percent to $66.3 million.

Universal Chairman, President and CEO George C. Freeman III expressed satisfaction with the results. “Our Tobacco Operations segment delivered strong performance in the first half of fiscal year 2024,” he said in a statement.

According to Freeman, Universal benefited from robust demand for leaf tobacco and a favorable tobacco product mix. Leaf tobacco margins improved in the first half of fiscal year 2024, despite lower leaf tobacco sales volumes, as the company had fewer shipments of lower margin tobacco compared to the first half of fiscal year 2023.

Segment operating income for Universal’s tobacco operations segment was up 46 percent compared with the previous year’s six-month period. Uncommitted tobacco inventory levels of 12 percent at Sept. 30, 2023, remained low, and global leaf tobacco supply continues to be tight for all types of tobacco, according to Freeman.

“Looking ahead, we continue to expect that, similar to fiscal year 2023, our tobacco shipments will be strongly weighted to the second half of the fiscal year 2024,” he said. “We also believe our uncommitted tobacco inventory levels will remain low for the rest of fiscal year 2024.”