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Author Archive: speccomm

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Imperial’s stick-equivalent volume down 7 percent over full year

| November 5, 2013

Imperial Tobacco’s stick-equivalent volume sales during the year to the end of September, at 317 billion, were down by 7 percent on those of the year to the end of September 2012. Stick-equivalent sales include sales of cigarettes, and those of fine-cut, cigars and snus converted to cigarette-stick equivalents.

Meanwhile, the company reported that its stick-equivalent Growth-Brand volumes were down by 2 percent to 129 billion.

“Our growth brands account for a significant amount of our volume and revenue generation, and our aim is to increase this over time to further enhance the quality and sustainability of our business,” Imperial reported.

“These brands outperformed the market in the year, with volumes down less than the rate of market declines.

“Seven of our 10 growth brands grew share and on an aggregate basis, we grew the share of growth brands from 5.1 to 5.4 percent and increased net revenue by 2 percent.

“Growth brands now account for 41 percent of our total volumes, up from 39 percent last year, and 39 percent of tobacco net revenues, up from 38 percent last year.”

Imperial said, too, that while it was strengthening the sustainability of its core tobacco business, it was also pursuing opportunities for growth in other areas through its new standalone subsidiary, Fontem Ventures.

“Fontem Ventures has initially been focused on our entry into the fast growing e-vapour sector and will be launching its own products in 2014,” the company said.

“Fontem Ventures has also acquired further e-vapour assets and expertise from Dragonite International, a company founded by one of the pioneers of e-cigarette technologies, which has further enhanced our sector potential.”

Imperial’s tobacco revenue during the year to the end of September, at £20,881 millon, was down from £21,161 million during the year to the end of September 2012. Net revenue was up from £7,005 million to £7,007 million.

Operating profit from tobacco was up from £1,447 million to £1,888 million, while adjusted operating profit was up from £2,989 million to £3,003 million.

“Our focus on driving quality growth and transitioning the business has delivered another year of earnings growth and further strengthened our sustainability,” said Chief Executive Alison Cooper.

“Market conditions remain tough. We remain focused on maximizing our long-term growth potential, and in 2014 our priority is to continue transitioning the business: increasing investment behind our key brands and markets to drive quality growth, delivering our cost optimization program and implementing our stock optimization program.

“A reasonable working assumption for 2014 therefore is modest growth in earnings per share at constant currency, with another strong dividend increase of at least 10 percent.

“Our actions in 2013 and over the coming year will provide us with a strong platform for growth in 2015 and beyond.”

GTNF 2014

| September 17, 2012

Commentators have already dubbed the Global Tobacco Networking Forum (GTNF) the “Davos” of tobacco, after the prestigious World Economic Forum meetings in Switzerland—and for good reason.

From a humble experiment in Rio de Janeiro in 2008, the GTNF has grown into a force to be reckoned with on the international stage of tobacco events. The most recent edition, held  at in October at the Greenbrier resort, attracted a record number of delegates from around the world, including tobacco executives, financial analysts and even public health advocates. The next GTNF will take place in September 2015 in Bologna, Italy.

Unlike a traditional congress, in which the audience “consumes” a series of prepared presentations, GTNF revolves around interaction. Participants have an opportunity to engage with the experts, enabling them to make contacts and gain insights that are difficult to achieve in more formal settings.

To access GTNF 2014 click here.


Hail & Cotton – Global Sales Director

| September 12, 2012

Hail & Cotton

2500 South Main Street
Springfield, Tennessee USA

Now Hiring – Global Sales Director

Hail & Cotton International Group (“HCIG”), recognized world-wide as a quality supplier of all types of leaf tobacco, is actively recruiting for the position of Global Sales Director. This position will report directly to the President and will oversee an experienced world-wide sales team. The successful candidate will have broad industry experience, excellent sales and communication skills and demonstrate initiative, drive and enthusiasm.

This position is responsible for the development and implementation of sales plans, allocation of resources, and the development of key customer relationships. The position is located in USA, fluent English required and other language skills a plus. Significant international travel required.

HCIG is an equal opportunity employer and offers competitive compensation and benefit packages. Interested applicants should send their CV and compensation requirements to

NZ smokers paying more than their share of taxes

| May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012A treasury report has admitted that smoking saves the New Zealand government money because smokers die earlier and pay more in tobacco tax than their health problems cost, according to a story in the Otago Daily Times relayed by Tobacco China Online.

The regulatory impact statement on tobacco taxes prepared ahead of the budget said smokers’ shorter life expectancies reduced the need for superannuation and aged care.

‘When the broader fiscal impacts of smoking are considered … smokers are probably already “paying their way” in narrowly fiscal terms,’ the report stated.’

In last week’s budget, associate health minister, Tariana Turia, introduced tobacco levies that will increase the price of a 20-pack of cigarettes to more than $20 in four years.

The new taxes are estimated to increase the government’s tax take from tobacco from $1.3 billion to around $1.7 billion by 2016.

A University of Otago study in 2007 estimated that the direct cost of smoking to the ministry of health was $300 million to $350 million.

The treasury cited a ministry of health study that estimated the indirect health costs of smoking at $1.9 billion, but acknowledged the figure had been disputed and was far higher than previous estimates.

The regulatory impact statement said taxing smokers was a much more reliable way of generating income for the government than was taxing other goods and services.

It said tobacco taxes were ‘very efficient’ for raising revenue because the addictive nature of nicotine meant smokers were not highly sensitive to price increases.

Challenge to NY parks smoking ban unexpected

| May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012New York officials said yesterday that they were putting a temporary hold on the enforcement of a ban on tobacco smoking at state parks in the city, according to a story by Glenn Blain for the New York Daily News.

The ban, enacted in April, extended also to designated areas around pools and playgrounds at all other state parks.

But officials were forced to shelve the ban after the city-based group, Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (CLASH), filed formal objections to the policy.

The objections require the state to draft a response and hold a lengthy public comment period before the smoking ban can be implemented. The process could last for months, and a lawsuit is likely.

Dan Keefe, a spokesman for the state office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, confirmed that the state would not be handing out tickets until the process was concluded, but he said that the signs would be left in place.

Keefe admitted that state officials had not expected anyone to object when they announced the policy and began posting signs.

FDA launches regulatory science fellowship program

| May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012The US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), in collaboration with the Institute of Medicine (IOM), is launching a new regulatory science fellowship program.

The new program is designed for mid-career professionals to gain experience and expertise to further define and develop the field of regulatory science as it relates to the regulation of tobacco products and the FDA’s new authorities under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

More details are at: