“In order to protect and strengthen the company’s competitive position in the future, we have decided to restructure our sales and marketing operations. This measure involves a cut in workforce in the company”, said Neil Coupland (photo), chief executive JTI Romania.

The restructuring process will be completed by the end of October. The measures will not affect the workers at JTI Manufacturing SA facility.

JTI Romania has 674 employees and JTI Manufacturing has 200 permanent workers.

“Over the past years, due to the excise structure and minimum excise level, the market fell sharply, the price gaps between value-base segments and premium-prestige segments becoming insignificant. Also the smuggling of cheap cigarettes from Moldova, Ukraine and Serbia skyrocketed, the profitability being higher in case of «cheap» cigarettes”, said Neil Coupland.

According to AC Nielsen, March tobacco sales were the lowest in four years. In the first quarter this year the market dropped 40% year-on-year.

Tobacco smuggling reached 36.2% of the total tobacco market in January.

JT International (JTI) is the international division of Japan Tobacco Inc., world’s third largest cigarette manufacturing company. Geneva-based company sells its brands in more than 120 countries and employs around 23,300.