(ATTN: REWRITES throughout; ADDS photo)
SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) -- KT&G Corp., South Korea's dominant tobacco company, said Wednesday its first-quarter net profit rose 7.3 percent from a year earlier, helped by a weak won and increased domestic sales.
Net profit for the three months that ended in March rose to 293.88 billion won (US$240 million) from 273.84 billion won in the same period of last year, the company said in a statement.
"The won's weakness against the dollar drove up the value of exports when repatriated into the local currency, and robust sales of new products in the local market also helped the quarterly result," a company spokesman said over the phone.
The dollar rose to an average of 1,193.60 won in the first quarter from 1,125.08 won a year earlier, according to the Bank of Korea.
KT&G sold 9.6 billion cigarettes in the domestic market in the first quarter, up 5.5 percent from 9.1 billion cigarettes a year ago. It accounted for 64 percent of the country's 15 billion cigarette market in the first three months, the statement said.
But exports fell 24 percent to 7.3 billion cigarettes from 9.6 billion units during the same period due to the coronavirus outbreak that affected demand and delivery, it said.
Operating profit declined 9.5 percent on-year to 315.01 billion won in the first quarter from 348.17 billion won. Sales were down 0.6 percent to 1.178 trillion won from 1.184 trillion won.
Seoul's last-ditch home supply plan still in doubt over its viability
Korean foodmakers ramp up overseas push amid COVID-19 pandemic
Bumpy road lies ahead for Samsung, even after heir avoids detention
One month into eased social distancing, S. Korea wrestles with cluster infections, cases with unknown routes
Virus outbreak sheds light on overlooked side of highly touted 'fast' delivery services