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Category: Breaking News

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Imperial helps get Madagascar business on the move

| April 10, 2015

SACIMEM, Imperial Tobacco’s subsidiary in Madagascar, has helped renovate the airport at Antsirabe in an effort aimed at boosting the local economy.

‘Antsirabe is the third largest city in the country but its local airport has been neglected and only private planes have been using it, Imperial said in a note posted on its website.

‘Local companies, including SACIMEM, worked in partnership with the State Civil Aviation Authority to open Antsirabe’s airport to the outside world.

‘The renovation programme, which was 60 per cent funded by the private sector, has enabled Antsirabe to establish important commercial links with Antananarivo and Fianarantsoa.’

PMI to host first-quarter results webcast

| April 10, 2015

Philip Morris International Inc. is due to host a live audio webcast at www.pmi.com/webcasts starting at 09.00 Eastern Time on April 16 to discuss its 2015 first-quarter results, which will be issued about 07:00 the same day.

During the webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, CFO Jacek Olczak will discuss PMI’s results and answer questions from the investment community and news media.

The audio webcast will be available also on iOS or Android devices by downloading PMI’s free Investor Relations Mobile Application at www.pmi.com/irapp.

An archived copy of the webcast will be available at www.pmi.com/webcasts until 17.00 on May 15.

Slides and script will be available at www.pmi.com/earnings.

Altria to host first-quarter results webcast

| April 10, 2015

The Altria Group is due to host a live audio webcast starting at 09.00 Eastern Time on April 23 to discuss its 2015 first-quarter business results. The webcast can be accessed at www.altria.com.

Altria will issue a press release with its results about 07.00 on the same day.

During the webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, chairman, CEO and president, Marty Barrington, and CFO, Billy Gifford, will discuss the company’s results and answer questions from the investment community and news media.

Pre-event registration is necessary through www.altria.com.

An archived copy of the webcast will be available on www.altria.com or through the free Altria Investor App, which is available for download at www.altria.com/irapp or through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

New Korean center to study health effects of smoking

| April 9, 2015

South Korea’s Ministry of Health plans to set up its own research center dedicated to studying the effects of smoking on health, according to a story in The Korea Times.

The ministry said yesterday that the research center, which would be supervised by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDCP), would open ‘as early as July’.

The Times said that while the health risks of tobacco were well-known, authorities in South Korea had had to rely largely on other countries’ research data when making policies about smoking and managing court disputes over issues relating to it because they did not have their own data.

Now, in co-operation with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the KCDCP would look into how components of cigarette smoke affected the human body.

The ministry said it had already secured WON4 billion ($35 million) for the project.

The information generated by the research center is expected to be used to help the ministry in its efforts to reduce the country’s smoking rate.

In addition, though the ministry did not mention a WON53.7 billion damages suit that was filed last year by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) against tobacco companies, the Times story said that data from the new research center was expected to support the NHIS’ case.

The fourth court hearing in the case is scheduled for May 15.

Pay policy discriminates against smokers in Maldives

| April 9, 2015

Salary increases for the employees of two Maldives broadcasters are to be linked to whether or not the employees are smokers. And, no, the smokers aren’t going to get more than the non-smokers.

The Maldives Media Company, which employs 60 people, said that non-smoking employees at its DhiFM and DhiTV stations would receive 15 percent rises while their smoking employees would receive 10 percent rises.

The company’s chairman, Mohamed ‘Uhchu’ Moosa, was quoted as saying that the decision to have different pay rises was made in order ‘to encourage’ staff to give up smoking.

“We want our staff to give up the habit of their own volition,” Uhchu said. “And to give them a chance to stop injuring their own health.”

He attempted further to justify the discrimination by citing that the entrance to the company’s office was often littered with cigarette filters.

The letter that the MMC sent out to inform staff of the policy, warns that any employee who gives up smoking and then goes back to it will be penalized with ‘a complete dissolution of all salary increments’.

Warnings blamed for graphic excise decline in Nepal

| April 9, 2015

Tobacco product excise revenue in Nepal during the first eight months of the current fiscal year (16 July-15 July) fell by about 5.5 percent, and the assumption is that the drop is partly down to the imposition from May 2014 of graphic health warnings on these products, according to a story in the Daily Republica.

Cigarette manufacturers have acknowledged that tobacco consumption has declined in recent months, compelling them to cut back production.

But they blame the decline also on illegally imported cigarettes, which are said to be ‘rife in the market’, and price increases.

Data compiled by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) show that the excise revenue fell by 5.5 percent to Rs4.57 billion during the first eight months of the current fiscal year, bucking a trend of continuous growth in recent years.

Officials at the Ministry of Finance blame the decline in tobacco excise revenue for the country’s having missed its revenue target by about two percent during the eight months.

But not everybody is upset by the drop in revenue. The Health Secretary, Shant Bahadur Shrestha, reportedly described the decline in excise duty from tobacco products as an achievement because the policy was not about revenue but about health.