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Appointments at Hungarian DIET plant

| May 12, 2014

Renata Becse and Franz Rappl have been appointed, respectively, process coordinator and administrator, and blending and DIET manager at Leaf NewCo.

Earlier this year, Leaf NewCo officially opened a factory in Hungary offering expanded tobacco or the use of expanded tobacco processing capacity to small- and medium-sized tobacco products manufacturers unable to justify the cost of installing their own expansion plants.

The new plant is being operated as a joint venture between the Continental Tobacco Group, which will use some of the plant’s capacity to enhance its tobacco products, and the global tobacco service provider and leaf merchant NewCo, which will commercialize most of the capacity through its recently formed Dutch company, NewCo Leaf Europe BV.

The plant was installed by Airco DIET within Continental’s premises at Sátoraljaújhely, a small town near Hungary’s border with Slovakia.

Shisha smoking crackdown in Saudi

| May 12, 2014

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of the Interior has asked the Control and Investigation Bureau (CIB) in Makkah to start cracking down on cafés in Jeddah disregarding the ban on smoking shisha and other tobacco products in enclosed public areas, according to a story in the Arab News.

The Jeddah Governorate had apparently sought the help of the CIB in enforcing the law.

A CIB team was expected to start work this week on compiling the names of café owners breaking the law.
The move comes after the governorate received reports about café owners serving shisha and tobacco in places where bans were in force.

The governorate has warned that it will punish mayors and employees of branch municipalities for not enforcing the law.

The Interior Ministry’s ban on smoking in enclosed public places includes cafés, restaurants and shopping centers and applies to shisha and other tobacco products.

Old man jailed over illicit cigarettes

| May 12, 2014

A 78-year-old man has been sentenced in Singapore to a year in jail and a $217,000 fine after pleading guilty to possessing untaxed cigarettes, according to an AsiaOne story.

The man, along with others, was caught in a customs sting as they unloaded untaxed cigarettes from a taxi.

Later, untaxed cigarettes were found at his home.

Court documents showed that the man had bought the cigarettes for $25 a carton and kept them in his flat, intending to sell them for between $28 and $30 a carton.

A carton of duty-paid premium cigarettes retails for about $130.

Bahrain to mull 100 percent import duty

| May 12, 2014

Bahrain could soon charge 100 percent import duty on all tobacco products, according to a Trade Arabia story quoting a report in the Akhbar Al Khaleej newspaper.

A proposal to amend the current anti-tobacco law is expected to be on parliament’s agenda on Tuesday.

The proposed amendments include also curbs on public places smoking.

Value of SM’s sales increased slightly

| May 9, 2014

Swedish Match’s sales during the three months to the end of March, at SEK3,014 million, were up by 1.1 percent on those of the three months to the end of March 2013, SEK2,982 million.

Operating profit was down by 16.8 percent to SEK858 million, while operating profit from product areas, which excludes SM’s share of the Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s net profit and larger one-off items, was down by 2.8 percent to SEK809 million.

Profit before income tax was down by 18.2 percent to SEK732 million, while profit for the period was down by 21.7 percent to SEK580 million.

Earnings per share (EPS) were down by 21.8 percent to SEK2.91; EPS excluding larger one-off items was down by three-tenths of a percent to SEK2.91

“In the first quarter, Swedish Match reported increased sales and stable operating profit when adjusted for currency effects and investments in international snus expansion,” said CEO Lars Dahlgren in reporting the results.

“For snus in Scandinavia, it is positive to note the continued strong market growth in both Sweden and Norway. In Sweden, the growth was driven by value-priced products, and relative to the last quarter of 2013, Swedish Match gained share in this growing segment of the market in line with our ambitions. Swedish Match underlying snus volumes in Scandinavia in the quarter are estimated to have increased by 1 percent, and sales were flat in local currencies.

“In the U.S. moist snuff market, our pouch and tub offerings continued their strong performance in the quarter. For General snus in the U.S., we continued our focused efforts to grow the brand and the snus category with a high level of consumer engagement activities and to a lesser extent expanded distribution.

“Within other tobacco products, we once again saw a solid development for our chewing tobacco business, in part due to timing effects, but also due to strong performance for our premium Red Man brand as well as increased contract manufacturing deliveries.

“For cigars, a strong performance for our Game natural wrapper cigars contributed to a 5 percent overall volume growth, while revenues remained flat and operating profit declined somewhat as the category has become more promotional.

“Our lights business continued its solid performance during the quarter, with growth in sales and profits for lighters, and sales growth for matches in local currencies.”

Spending on cigarettes falling steadily

| May 9, 2014

Household spending on cigarettes fell in South Korea for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, but more money was spent on alcohol, according to a Yonhap News Agency story.

A household comprising two people or more spent an average of KRW17,263 (US$16.9) per month on tobacco last year, or 0.7 percent of the average income of about KRW2.48 million, according to data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The proportion of income spent on tobacco has been declining steadily. It dropped from 0.96 percent in 2008, to 0.85 percent in 2009, to 0.81 percent in 2010, to 0.77 percent in 2011, and to 0.75 percent in 2012.

The Statistics Korea data showed also that the country’s smoking prevalence dropped from 28.8 percent in 2005 to 27 percent in 2011.

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