SEOUL, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) — KT&G Corp., South Korea’s dominant tobacco company, said Thursday its third-quarter net profit fell 14 percent from a year earlier on currency-related losses.

Net profit for the three months that ended in September fell to 278.08 billion won (US$246 million) from 322.07 billion won in the same period of last year, the company said in a statement.

“Foreign-exchange losses cut into the quarterly bottom line, fully offsetting increased sales and gains from property investments in the third quarter,” the statement said.

The dollar fell to an average of 1,188.54 won in the third quarter from 1,193.24 a year ago, according to the Bank of Korea.

Helped by increased sales in major markets such as the Middle East, the United States and Russia, KT&G posted record-high quarterly operating profit and sales results in the September quarter.

Operating profit jumped 14 percent to 434.65 billion won in the third quarter from 382.47 billion won a year ago. Sales climbed 11 percent to 1.46 trillion won from 1.32 trillion won during the same period.

The company aims to explore new markets in Latin America and Africa for exports of its products within this year.

KT&G sold 11.9 billion cigarettes in the domestic market in the third quarter, up 8.2 percent from 11 billion cigarettes a year ago. It accounted for 64 percent of the country’s 18.4 billion cigarette market, the statement said.

Its overseas sales jumped 31 percent to 12.7 billion cigarettes from 9.7 billion during the cited period helped by strong demand from the Middle East, it said.

From January to September, net profit fell 6 percent to 865.4 billion won from 920.4 billion won in the year-ago period.

Operating income climbed 1.3 percent to 1.14 trillion won in the first nine months from 1.12 trillion won a year ago, and sales were up 5.2 percent to 3.96 trillion won from 3.77 trillion won during the same period.