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Shares of Louisville-based Turning Point Brands spiked 15 percent Tuesday morning after the company reported record net sales and record gross profit in the fourth quarter.

Sales, at $94.3 million, were up 28.2 percent from the fourth quarter of last year, while gross profit, at $38.7 million, rose 20.1 percent.

Net income, at $5 million, was up 41.6 percent, boosted by lower income taxes, which fell by $1.3 million, or nearly 38 percent.

For the full year, sales rose 16.4 percent, to almost $333 million, while net income, at $25.3 million, was up 25.1 percent.

Larry Wexler

President and CEO Larry Wexler said in a news release that 2018 “was a solid year of achievement” for the company.

Beyond record sales and gross profit, Wexler highlighted two vaping acquisitions that boosted the company’s distribution infrastructure, the company’s first investment in hemp and laying the foundation for Nu-X Ventures, which the company launched Jan. 15 to target “alternative products” such as cannabidiols.

Through brands including Stoker’s, Zig Zag and VaporBeast, TPB sells smoking and smokeless tobacco products. The company’s New Generation products segment, which includes VaporBeast, generates nearly half of company revenue and about a third of gross profit.

“Total TPB net sales continue to grow robustly on the strength and success of our focus brands,” Wexler said. “Stoker’s MST achieved another record share in the quarter. Zig Zag organic hemp rolling paper products continue to expand retail distribution and the new product pipeline for 2019 is full of exciting new novel introductions.”

The company said it expects to generate sales this year of up to $405 million, which would be an increase of nearly 22 percent compared to last year.

By mid-afternoon Tuesday, TPB shares traded for $44.60, up about $12.5 percent from Monday’s close. In the last year, TPB’s stock price has more than doubled despite warnings from federal officials, public discussion and possible laws regarding who can vape when and where.

Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.