When the F.D.A. placed a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, some market observers suggested that the popular brand Juul would see its profits go up in smoke.
Not so much, it turns out.
Juul Labs Inc. is expecting $3.4 billion in revenue this year, nearly triple its 2018 earnings. According to Bloomberg, the company’s confidence in fiscal growth comes from its continued move into global markets and the hope that beyond the U.S. there will be fewer restrictions on its products. Flavored versions of the popular Juul were outlawed in the U.S. last November, as they were seen to be appealing to teenagers, while the company maintains that its product is meant to help ease smokers away from traditional cigarettes.
Juul has experienced explosive growth in recent years—from $200 million in 2017 to $1.3 billion in revenue last year (and a $12.4 million profit). And, despite the new restrictions, it is expecting sales growth of 160 percent, with 26 percent of sales taking place outside of the United States.
That kind of success—and the debate over e-cigarettes—has heightened the brand’s profile of late. Last year, the New Yorker chronicled how teens have transformed Juul from tobacco cessation product to meme-worthy social media phenomenon. It has also translated into dollars for Juul employees. Thanks to a $2 billion investment from tobacco conglomerate Altria Group (owner of Phillip Morris and Nat Sherman, among others), the company’s founders became instant billionaires, and they gave bonuses to their longtime staff members that turned many into overnight millionaires.
During a quarterly earnings report last month, Howard Willard, CEO of Altria Group, summed up the company’s prospects this way: “We are excited about Juul’s domestic growth and international prospects. Juul’s 2018 growth was quite remarkable.”
Indeed, with the promise of incredible growth and a possible bonus that could bump your salary into seven-figure territory, what’s not to love?
You could say that the company’s prospects are, well, smoking hot.