Swedish Match continues to light up the tobacco industry one swipe at a time. The firm is one of the world's largest makers of matches and one of the top manufacturers of disposable lighters (Cricket brand), behind BIC and Itochu subsidiary Tokai. Swedish Match is big in smokeless tobacco, too. Its Red Man chewing tobacco is the #1 product in the US market, where it generates about a third of its sales. The company's other tobacco offerings include pipe tobacco, snuff, and a variety of cigars, including well-known brands Garcia y Vega, La Paz, Willem II, Hajenius, Macanudo, and White Owl. The company owns top US premium cigar seller General Cigar Holdings.
Swedish Match has been expanding its products portfolio through acquisitions in the US and abroad. In addition to General Cigar Holdings -- which makes Macanudo, Partagas, Punch, and Hoyo de Monterrey brands -- the company has boosted its business by buying Belgium's Bogaert Cigars, El Credito Cigars in the US, and The Burger Group of Switzerland.
The company strives to be the leader in smokefree products worldwide. Swedish Match produces snuff for the North American, Norwegian, and Swedish markets. Its snuff brands include General, Ettan, and Grov in Sweden and Timber Wolf in the US. In the US it is positioning its Timber Wolf brand, which comes in several varieties, as a value brand. The region is a leading market for the group's chewing tobacco segment, especially its Red Man brand. Additionally, Swedish Match in 2009 launched a new snus product, a Swedish form of snuff. The Lab Series 01 and 02 were developed by the company for modern use, as it comes in slim pouches such as those found in Norway.
The company's also promoting its snus in the US and to boost sales as chewing tobacco revenue levels off there. Because of a ban on snus by the European Union, the group has been stepping up its marketing efforts in North America and Asia. However, the company is launching a new premium snus, General Onyx, in the Swedish market, which is exempt from the ban.
Swedish Match has been selling off non-core operations to concentrate on smoke-free tobacco, cigars, and tobacco accessories. In September 2009 Swedish Match sold its operations in South Africa to Philip Morris International for 1.75 billion ZAR. As part of the agreement, the South African business continues to distribute lighters, matches, and cigars for Swedish Match.
In mid-2008 Lars Dahlgren became Swedish Match's president and CEO when Sven Hindrikes retired.