The Greek tobacco industry suffered a new, significant, decline in consumption in early 2011 after sustaining a 20-pct decline in its turnover last year.

“Sales of tobacco products in January this year are estimated to fall by 13 pct,” a senior official of the tobacco industry told ANA-MPA, adding that this decline will accelerate after the implementation of higher prices announced by enterprises as a result of a higher special consumption tax.

Cigarette manufacturers and distributors have revised upwards their prices from the start of the year, but continue to supply the market with lower-priced inventories fearing any more loss of market shares. “This happened in 2010,” the official of one of the four largest Greek tobacco industries said, noting that cheaper brands raised their market shares last year. He underlined that any further decline in consumption would be accompanied by further changes in market shares, with domestic companies losing more ground to multinational companies.

In January, Philip Morris, owner of Papastratos, had a market share of 36.8 pct, down from 38 pct in January 2010; BAT’s share was 19 pct - up from 16.9 pct last year; Japan Tobacco International’s share was 15.0 pct - slightly down from 15.9 pct in 2010; Imperial Tobacco’s share was 11.5 pct - unchanged from last year -- while Karelias saw its market share rise slightly to 9.4 pct this year from 9.3 pct in 2010. Finally, SEKAP fell to 8.3 pct from 8.6 pct over the same period, respectively.

Turnover by Greek tobacco industries fell 20.6 pct in 2010, after losing 3.0 pct in 2009. Domestic production fell 17.5 pct to the lowest levels since 2005.