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PMI to webcast conference presentation

| February 12, 2015

Philip Morris International is due to host a live audio webcast at www.pmi.com/webcasts of a presentation by CFO Jacek Olczak at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) Conference starting about 13.45 Eastern Time on February 18.

The webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, will provide live audio of the entire PMI session.

The audio webcast can be accessed 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 March 19.

The presentation slides and script will be available at www.pmi.com/presentations.

Ploom names two senior executives

| February 11, 2015

Ploom, a San Francisco, California, USA-based vapor delivery system company, has added two senior executives to its team. Timothy Danaher was named vice president of finance and Scott Dunlap was appointed chief marketing officer. Reporting to founder and CEO James Monsees, Danaher will play a critical role in developing and executing the overall business and financial strategy of Ploom to maximize sales growth and profitability.Dunlap will be responsible for crafting the strategic marketing vision and plan behind all of Ploom’s future products.

“We are excited to welcome Tim and Scott to the Ploom team,” said Ploom CEO James Monsees. “Tim’s broad experience in finance and history of building value in startup ventures will serve us well as we enter the next phase of Ploom’s strategic growth. In addition to success in growing new business platforms, Scott has the unique skills–ncluding expertise in mobile apps, gaming, data mining and social networking–that are needed in an envelope-pushing industry that relies on new and creative tools to build a customer base. Tim and Scott will be key factors as we continue to build our business with innovative products and designs.”

Reynolds’ volumes down but Santa Fe is on the up

| February 11, 2015

R.J Reynolds Tobacco’s US domestic cigarette volume during the year to the end of December, at 61.0 billion, was down by 5.0 percent on that of 2013, 64.2 billion.

Camel volume was unchanged at 20.9 billion but Pall Mall volume fell by 3.2 percent to 20.6 billion; so the company’s total ‘growth brands’ volume was down by 1.6 percent to 41.5 billion.

Volume shipments of RJR’s other brands were down by 11.6 percent to 19.5 billion.

Reynolds American Inc, whose business sectors take in RJR, Santa Fe and American Snuff, announced its full-year and fourth-quarter results yesterday.

RJR’s volume during the fourth quarter to the end of December, at 14.9 billion, was down by 4.9 percent on that of the fourth quarter of 2013, 15.6 billion.

Camel volume fell by 0.7 percent to 5.1 billion and Pall Mall volume fell by 4.9 percent to 5.0 billion; so the company’s total growth brands volume was down by 2.8 percent to 10.1 billion.

The other-brands volume fell by 9.1 percent to 4.8 billion.

RJR’s share of the US cigarette market during the year to the end of December, at 26.5 per cent, was down from 26.6 percent during 2013.

Camel’s share was increased by 0.4 of a percentage point to 10.2 percent while Pall Mall’s share was unchanged at 9.4 percent.

The share held by the company’s other brands fell by 0.5 of a percentage point to 7.0 percent.

Meanwhile, Santa Fe’s cigarette (Natural American Spirit) volume during the year to the end of December, at 3.9 billion, was increased by 10.0 percent on that of 2013, while its volume during the three months to the end of December, at 1.1 billion, was 14.0 percent up on that of the three months to the end of December 2013.

Santa Fe’s share of the retail market during 2014, at 1.6 percent, was up by 0.2 of a percentage point on that of 2013.

American Snuff’s volume during the year to the end of December, at 478.6 million cans, was up by 2.8 percent on that of 2013.

Grizzly volume increased by 3.5 percent to 433.8 million cans, while sales of the company’s other moist snuff products fell by 3.5 percent to 44.9 million cans.

American’s volume during the three months to the end of December, at 120.5 million cans, was down by 1.0 percent from that of the three months to the end of 2013.

Grizzly volume was down by 0.5 percent to 109.2 million cans, while the volume of the company’s other brands fell by 5.3 percent to 11.3 million cans.

American’s share of the moist snuff market during the year to the end of December, at 34.3 percent, was increased by 0.3 of a percentage point on that of 2013.

Grizzly’s share was up by 0.5 of a percentage point to 31.4 percent, while the share of other brands was down by 0.2 of a percentage point to 3.0 percent.

RAI had net sales of $8,471 million during the 12 months to the end of December, 2.9 percent up on those of 2013.

Reported operating income was down by 19.2 percent to $2,531 million, while adjusted operating income was up by 2.8 percent to $3,105 million.

Reported net income was down by 14.4 percent to $1,470 million, while adjusted net income was up by 5.0 percent to $1,831 million.

And reported net income per diluted share was down by 12.4 percent to $2.75, while adjusted net income per diluted share was up by 7.2 per cent to $3.42.

“Reynolds American continued to deliver growth momentum in the fourth quarter, capping a highly successful year for our operating companies’ core operations and key brands,” said president and CEO Susan M. Cameron in announcing the results. “This strong performance contributed to RAI’s excellent total shareholder return of just under 35 percent for 2014.”

In addition, Cameron said, substantial progress was made in RAI’s transforming tobacco strategy. “Our companies’ innovative new products across categories are enhancing prospects for commercial success in an evolving marketplace, while also underscoring our commitment to reducing the harm caused by tobacco,” she said.

Developments were said to have included:

  • The national expansion of R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company’s VUSE Digital Vapor

Cigarette and the addition of four more adult-oriented styles;

  • The start of the national expansion of Niconovum USA’s ZONNIC nicotine replacement therapy gum; and,
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s launch of REVO in Wisconsin, which uses

heat-not-burn technology.

Late last month, RAI and Lorillard shareholders approved RAI’s proposed acquisition of Lorillard and divestiture of select brands and assets to a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco.

“We have also substantially complied with the Federal Trade Commission’s second request for information, and the process of obtaining the necessary regulatory and other approvals continues to proceed as expected,” Cameron said. “We remain confident that the transaction will close in the first half of this year.”

Andhra growers seek guidance to the ‘promised land’

| February 11, 2015

Tobacco growers in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh are urging world leaders to address the issue of providing them with alternative livelihoods, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

So far, the search for the ‘promised land’ of alternative crops, which has been going on for years in a number of countries and regions, has proved almost fruitless.

The growers appear to be jockeying for position ahead of the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which is due to he held in Delhi next year.

They are asking that they be allowed to participate at the meeting so as to present their case before any decision is taken to phase out tobacco cultivation; a request that seems doomed given the secrecy that surrounds these meetings.

And the growers are urging world leaders also to come up with recommendations to eliminate the illegal trade in tobacco products.

And here they are pushing at an open door. The illegal trade eats into government tobacco revenues and its elimination has been a pet project of the WHO for some time.

US FDA commissioner to step down next month

| February 11, 2015

The commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, Margaret A. Hamburg, is to step down by the end of March.

In a letter to her colleagues at the agency, Hamburg said that together they had made significant progress in implementing both the letter and spirit of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

‘Our tobacco compliance and enforcement program has entered into agreements with numerous state and local authorities to enforce the ban on the sale of tobacco products to children and teens; conducted close to 240,000 inspections; written more than 12,100 warning letters to retailers; proposed the extremely important foundational “deeming” rule; and broken new ground for FDA with the launch of the Agency’s first public education campaigns to prevent and reduce tobacco use among our nation’s youth,’ she said in part.

PMI a top employer in Europe

| February 11, 2015

Philip Morris International said yesterday that it had been recognized as a top employer in Europe for the third consecutive year, in recognition of the high standards in its working environment.

Certification was said to have been the result of independent assessment by the Top Employers’ Institute, which also recognized PMI’s affiliates as leading employers in 15 countries in Europe.

“The recognition of Philip Morris International as Top Employer is a reflection of the high standards that we hold ourselves to in our people practices, both in the EU region and across the globe,” said Victoria Shevchuk, vice president human resources EU and PMI labour relations.

“We raise the bar every year to remain contemporary in all we do and to promote our dynamic, rewarding and truly diverse work environment, which is a critical success factor for our business.”

PMI is one of 27 companies to be named top employer regionally this year.

National honors went also to PMI teams in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, UK and Ukraine, doubling the number of PMI affiliates ranked nationally by the Top Employers Institute in 2013.

“Our comprehensive research concluded that PMI and its certified affiliates provide an outstanding employment environment that offers a wide range of creative initiatives for the employees’ personal and professional development” said Judith Oude Sogtoen, director of international business development, Top Employers Institute.

In a note posted on its website, PMI said it employed more than 82,000 people worldwide, of which about 15,000 were based in Europe. ‘The company offers strong reward and recognition programs, robust training and development programs, as well as challenging career opportunities in a global and diverse work environment,’ it said. ‘In 2014 alone, nearly 1,800 of PMI’s employees worked outside their home country on an international assignment.’

The note went on to say that the Top Employer certification was awarded by the Top Employer Institute following a robust assessment, validated by the auditing company Grant Thornton, of the companies’ practices in a number of areas, including compensation and employee benefits, career development, working conditions and training and development.

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