Tobacco group Philip Morris International got more of its revenues from Europe in the third quarter of this year than it did in Asia.
According to PMI's results for the three months to September, sales grew 3.3 per cent year-on-year in the European Union to $2.36bn, while they dropped 12.2 per cent in Asia to $2.23bn.
Excluding currency, those changes looked tighter, but still significant – a 0.5 per cent growth in the EU, vs a four per cent decline in Asia.
PMI breaks Eastern Europe out separately to the EU, and has it badged up with the Middle East and Africa, so it's impossible to tell what the total for Europe would be when you include those countries outside the trading bloc.
In case you're interested, EEMEA saw a 6.5 per cent increase in sales to $2.43bn, which was a 13.3 per cent rise when you exclude currency.
It looks like a lot of the decline in Asia has come from two countries.
PMI said there had been:
Lower volume and market share in Japan, resulting from a lower total market following the consumption tax-driven price increases of April 1, 2014, as well as the unfavorable impact of inventory movements.
Lower volume/mix in Australia, resulting from a lower total market following the impact of tax-driven price increases in 2014, and lower market share, primarily due to the unfavorable impact of current competitive dynamics.
Australia hiked its cigarette tax by 13.7 per cent in August – pushing the price of a packet of 20 above $20 (nearly £11) – meaning it would cost $7,000 a year to smoke a packet a day.
Looking over the nine months to date, this is a huge change in dynamics for the company.
Back in 2013, Asia had generated just over $8bn, but so far this year it has reached $6.73bn. The EU meanwhile has gone from contributing $6.46bn to PMI's total takings last year to $6.76bn in 2014.
Not much in it now, but if sales continue to move in that pattern, it looks like the EU could comfortably become PMI's biggest source of revenue.
Interestingly, although EEMEA generates less revenue than the EU ($6.73bn) it is the most profitable region, netting $3.22bn.
And it doesn't mean the EU is smoking more than other regions. EEMEA has overtaken Asia as the recipient of the most units (77,252 million vs 72,352) while the EU received 49,209 million units over the three months.
Overall reported net revenues at the Marlboro manufacturer dropped 0.9 per cent to $7.9bn, while reported operating income fell 5.5 per cent to $3.56bn – though if you exclude currency, it actually rose 4.6 per cent.
Chief executive André Calantzopoulos said:
Our results in the third quarter were slightly better than we expected, underpinned by a modest decline in volume, continued robust pricing and solid market share gains in each of our four regions.While currency headwinds have stiffened, our underlying business momentum is such that we remain confident we are on course to achieve currency-neutral adjusted diluted EPS growth for the full year 2014 of approximately 6.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent. This confidence was further reflected in the announced increase of our regular quarterly dividend of 6.4 per cent.