The British tobacco maker Gallaher reported a 34 per cent sales increase in Romania in 2005, a 3.2 per cent market share achievement based on the good performance of St George, Ronson si LD cigarettes on the local market, according to the company’s financial release.

Gallaher opened a production plant in Romania at the end of 2004. In the following year, the company boasted sales of 175.8 bln units, up 3 per cent, due to favorable market shares in countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Spain. It also improved earnings in Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and Hungary.

The company’s sales rose lat year 1.2 % up to 8.2 bln pounds compared to 8.1 bln pounds in 2004.

According to Reuters, Gallaher will face some challenges in 2006 in the wake of low profits across Europe where the sales declined by 6.1% during 2005, but also due to higher taxes in Austria, Spain, and Germany and to emerging smoking bans.

The company is aware that the smoking ban in British pubs will decrease the market share with 5 per cent by the second half of 2007 when the interdiction will cease. In 2005, the British market share maintained to 38.6 per cent as in 2004.