10.4 Other importers operating in the Australian market

Last updated: November 2016 

Suggested citation: Bayly, M. 10.4 Other importers operating in the Australian market. In Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH [editors]. Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria; 2016. Available from http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-10-tobacco-industry/10-4-other-importers-operating-in-the-australian

Apart from the three major companies listed in Chapter 10, Section 10.3 , a small number of companies operate within Australia as distributors of imported cigarettes and other tobacco products, and smokers' requisites such as cigarette papers and filters for roll-your-own tobacco users. These smaller companies collectively accounted for 15.6% of the market share of the tobacco product wholesaling industry in 2015.1 Tobacco companies other than the major companies accounted for 2.1% of the total cigarette retail market by volume in 2016 and 7.5% of the smoking tobacco market, and 71.9% of the cigar market.2 The largest ‘other’ tobacco importer is Scandinavian Tobacco Group Australia Pty Ltd, while the remainder of importers tend to be small independent wholesalers which distribute tobacco products within smaller regions.1

10.4.1 Scandinavian Tobacco Group Australia Pty Ltd

The Scandinavian Tobacco Group is a large tobacco—predominantly cigar and smoking tobacco—producer which is based in Denmark. Skandinavisk Holding A/S and Swedish Match Cigars Holding AB are major owners.1 Scandinavian Tobacco Group Australia Pty Ltd imports and wholesales tobacco products in Australia, accounting for less than 2% of total wholesaling market share in 2015,1 and 58.8% of cigar and 0.4% of smoking tobacco retail volumes in 2016.2   

Table 10.4.1
Scandinavian Tobacco Group Australia Pty Ltd brands and products, 2013   

Source: The Australian Retail Tobacconist3

* Also listed as imported by Smokers Supplies

† Also listed as imported by Pacific Cigar Company and Smokers Supplies

^ Also listed as imported by British American Tobacco Australia and Smokers Supplies

10.4.2 Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Ltd

Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Ltd is an Australian-owned importer, marketer and distributor for tobacco products and a range of packaged food products that has operated in Australia since 1884. In the late 1990s, the company shifted its focus, stating on its website “Stuart Alexander is now a 'confectionery and food company that also sells cigars', rather than a 'tobacco distributor that sells food'”.4 In 2010, Stuart Alexander had a 50.0% value share of the $23.5 million cigar market in grocery stores.5 This rapidly declined so that in 2012 Stuart Alexander & Co’s share of the grocery cigar market was not reported among the top cigar companies.6 Likewise, Stuart Alexander & Co was listed as the largest cigar distributor for the entire Australian retail market in terms of both volume and value in 2012 and 2013,7 but was not listed as of 2015 in Euromonitor industry reports.8 The tobacco products imported and distributed by Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Ltd as of 2013 are presented in Table 10.4.2.

Table 10.4.2
Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Ltd tobacco products, 2013

Source: The Australian Retail Tobacconist3

* Also listed as imported by Smokers Supplies

† Also listed as imported by Trojan Trading and Smokers Supplies

^ Also listed as imported by British American Tobacco Australia and Smokers Supplies

10.4.3 Other importers of tobacco products into Australia

Several other businesses import cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products into Australia. These include standard American and European cigarettes, as well as kreteks, flavoured cigarettes from Hong Kong and Chinese brands.3,9 Chinese brands in particular sell more cheaply in Australia than many other brands, so appeal to the value end of the market as well as to expatriate Chinese smokers.9

Two other companies that import a range of tobacco products include Richland Express and Patron Group. No recent publically listed information is available about either company. Richland Express was founded in 2007 and imported cigarettes from Europe for the Australian market.10 At 2016, Richlands Express imports the following cigarette brands: Easy, Manitou, Manitou Organic, Jet Clove (kreteks), the roll-your-own tobacco brands Harvest, Manitou, and Manitou Organic, and Tycoon cigars.11 Patron Group Australia has operated in Australia since the late 1990s and advertises in retail trade magazines that it imports and distributes the following Chinese cigarette brands: Chunghwa, Double Happiness, and GD.11 Additional cigarette importers—as of 20133—include ATA International Pty Ltd, importing the brands Furongwang, Lesser Panda, and Yuxi; Brightcity International Trading Pty Ltd (Huanghelou, and more recently RGD11), and PT Korea Pty Ltd imports cigarette brands from Korea including Bohem, Esse, Raison and This Plus. Other companies including Cigarworld Australia, Jamreem Pty Ltd, the Pacific Cigar Company, Smokers Supplies, and Trojan Trading Company import a variety of niche tobacco products including premium cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, make-your-own tobacco, and cigars.

In July 2010, supermarket giant Coles attracted critical media coverage due to the sale of 'home-brand-style packs of 25 cigarettes, imported from Germany, at about $11, almost $4 a pack less than Australian-made Winfield and other leading brands'.12 The packs carry unfamiliar names such as Bayside, Deal, Harvest and Tradition and are being promoted by Coles as a cheaper alternative to well-known brands3 (see Figure 10.4.1).

Figure 10.4.1

Figure 10.4.1 
Heavily discounted imported cigarettes sold at Coles, 2010

Source: R Squires, The Sunday Telegraph12

At least two Australian distributors, Alexanders Cigar Merchants13 and Cigarworld Australia,14 operate their own specialist retail outlets, which sell cigars as well as other tobacco-related paraphernalia and giftware. Alexanders Cigar Merchants also distributes Cigar Aficionado publications.

Relevant news and research

For recent news items and research on this topic, click here.(Last updated January 2019)



1. Little S. IBIS World Industry Report F3606b: Tobacco Product Wholesaling in Australia. Melbourne, Australia: IBIS World Pty Ltd, 2016.

2. Euromonitor International. Tobacco in Australia—2015 and 2016. London: Euromonitor International, 2017. Available from: http://www.euromonitor.com/tobacco.

3. NSW Retail Tobacco Traders' Association. Price lists−cigarettes. The Australian Retail Tobacconist, 2013; 87(no. 1 Feb−May):1−2. 

4. Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Ltd. History. Sydney, Australia 2016. Last update: Viewed 30 November 2016. Available from: http://www.stuartalexander.com.au/about/history.

5. Retail World. Retail World Annual Report 2010.  Market sizes and shares. Retail World, 2010; December:30. 

6. Retail World. Retail World Annual Report 2012.  Market sizes and shares. Retail World, 2012; December:30. 

7. Euromonitor International. Tobacco in Australia − 2008 to 2013, Available for purchase. London: Euromonitor International, 2014. Available from: http://www.euromonitor.com/tobacco.

8. Euromonitor International. Tobacco in Australia. London: Euromonitor International, 2016. Available from: http://www.euromonitor.com/tobacco.

9. Convenience & Impulse Retailing. Brand matters − the importance of brand loyalty in the tobacco category. Balmain, New South Wales: Berg Bennett, 2008. Last update: Viewed Available from: http://c-store.net.au/magazine/view_article.php?id=169.

10. Daly P. House of Representatives - Standing Committee on Health and Ageing Greystanes, NSW: Richland Express, 2011. Last update: Viewed 30 November 2016. Available from: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:JQPcvB8unZ8J:www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/house_of_representatives_committees%3Furl%3Dhaa/./billtobaccopackage/subs/sub44.pdf+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au

11. NSW Retail Tobacco Traders' Association. The Australian Retail Tobacconist, 2016; 99(July-August-September). 

12. Squires R. Coles importing cheap cigarettes from Germany and selling them at discount prices. The Sunday Telegraph, 2010; 18 Jul. Available from: http://www.news.com.au/business/coles-importing-cheap-cigarettes-from-germany-and-selling-them-at-discount-prices/story-e6frfm1i-1225893467835

13. Alexanders Cigar Merchants. Corporate website. Melbourne, Australia: Alexanders Cigar Merchants, Last update: Viewed Available from: http://www.alexanderscigars.com.au/.

14. Cigarworld Australia. Corporate website. Mermaid Waters, Queensland: Cigarworld Australia, 2005. Last update: Viewed Available from: http://www.cigarworld.com.au .

      Previous Chapter Next Chapter