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Another tobacco trade surplus likely

| August 26, 2014

South Korea has recorded a tobacco-trade surplus every year since 2004, and that surplus looks set to increase this year, according to a story by The Hankyoreh Media Co.

This is despite the fact that the value of tobacco imports increased by about 59 percent from US$249 million during 2003 to US$395 million last year. Between 2003 and 2013, the value of South Korea’s tobacco exports more than doubled from US$237 million to US$553 million.

In 2003, the country recorded a trade deficit in tobacco trade, but since then it has recorded a surplus that has risen nearly six-fold from US$27 million during 2004 to US$158 million last year.

And already during the first half of this year, the country has recorded a surplus of US$123 million. The United Arab Emirates accounts for 31 percent of South Korea’s tobacco exports.

Imperial sales see small decline

| August 19, 2014

Imperial Tobacco Group reported a small decline in nine-month revenue on Aug. 18 and said it was on course to complete its acquisition of a pack of U.S. cigarette brands from Reynolds American and Lorillard, according to CBS News.

Imperial, maker of JPS and Gauloises, said sales fell 1 percent to GBP4.75 billion ($7.95 billion) in the nine months to June 30. It said its guidance of “modest” growth in adjusted earnings per share remained unchanged.

Imperial last month agreed to buy a number of cigarette brands including Winston, Kool and Salem from Reynolds and Lorillard for $7.1 billion as part of a planned $25 billion merger between the two U.S. companies. In a surprise move, the deal also included Blu e-cigarettes, the No. 1 selling brand in the U.S.

Added to its existing portfolio, the new brands would make Imperial the third-largest player in the U.S. tobacco market–if the deal is successful. Imperial said it expected to complete the transaction in 2015, without providing more specific details.

“I’m pleased with the continued improvement in the quality of our sales growth,” said Chief Executive Alison Cooper.

Warnings have graphic effect on market

| August 15, 2014

Graphic health warnings that were applied to cigarette packs from June are already starting to take their toll on sales in Indonesia, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

Muhammad Guntur, the owner of the Janur Kuning cigarette factory in Kudus, Central Java, was quoted as saying that his cigarette sales had fallen by 10 percent since the government regulation requiring the inclusion of pictorial health warnings had come into force.

He put the decline down to consumers’ discomfort at seeing the images of cigarette-caused health problems.

Consumers, he added, had tended to shift to lower-quality cigarettes, which were exempt from pictorial-warning requirements.

But Guntur doesn’t think that smokers will be put off for long. “We are sure that such a decline is temporary in nature because smokers will eventually get used to seeing such horrible images,” he said.

Cigarette manufacturers have been given until August 24 fully to implement the pictorial-warning requirement.

Ireland under pressure on plain packs

| August 15, 2014

Associations representing German advertisers and brand owners have written to the Irish ambassador in Berlin saying plans for standardized tobacco packaging would, if implemented, have ‘devastating’ economic implications for Irish companies, according to a story by Juno McEnroe for the Irish Examiner.

The associations have warned also that the tobacco market would be ‘swamped’ with counterfeit products and that this would ‘endanger’ people’s health.

And the German Brands Association has apparently told the ambassador that ‘banning brands’ on tobacco goods would upset consumers and might well lessen their acceptance of the health warnings.

Meanwhile, the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, is facing pressure from German MEPs and other EU politicians to scrap Ireland’s plans for standardized packaging for tobacco products.

The full story is at: http://www.irishexaminer.com/analysis/german-brands-turn-up-heat-on-plain-cigarette-packaging-279202.html.

JT presents domestic July sales figures, restates some May and June figures

| August 15, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc’s domestic cigarette sales volume during July, at 10.0 billion, was down by 4.4 percent on that of July 2013, 10.5 billion, according to preliminary figures issued by the company today. The July 2013 figure was increased by 3.3 percent on that of July 2012.

Volume during January-July 2014, at 65.1 billion, was down by 2.2 percent on that of January-July 2013, 66.6 billion, which was down by 0.7 percent on that of January-July 2012.

JT’s market share stood at 60.4 percent during July, at 60.6 percent during January-July and at 60.5 per cent during January-December 2013.

JT’s domestic cigarette revenue during July, at ¥56.9 billion, was down by 1.2 percent from its July 2013 revenue, ¥57.6 billion.

Revenue during January-July 2014, at ¥363.3 billion, was down by 0.7 per cent on that of January-July 2013, ¥366.0 billion.

Meanwhile, JT has issued updates to some of the figures issued in respect of its May and June 2014 preliminary reports.

The company’s domestic cigarette revenue for May, which was previously given as ¥51.4 billion (down 7.8 percent from May 2013′s figure), has been restated as ¥51.7 billion (-7.4 percent), while the revenue for January-May, which was previously stated as ¥255.7 billion (-0.2 percent), has been restated as ¥256.2 billion (-0.1 percent).

JT’s domestic cigarette revenue for January-June, which was previously given as ¥306.1 billion (-0.7 percent), has been restated as ¥306.4 billion (-0.7 percent).

E-cigarettes just got even healthier!

| August 15, 2014

Having seen in Brooklyn, New York, a retail truck offering ‘VitaCigs’, the managing editor at Motherboard, Meghan Neal, is wondering whether in the future people will be smoking – or vaping – their medicine.

It’s a fair question because VitaCigs are apparently disposable, flavored electronic cigarettes with vitamins but with no nicotine.

‘The novel e-cig company offers five flavors: relax, refresh, energize, calm, and grace, writes Neal. ‘Each has basically the same vitamin content: A, B1, C, E, Coenzyme Q10, with small variations. In other words, the flavor names are pure marketing. “Relax” is a berry-flavored stick colored purple; “refresh” is green peppermint. You get the idea.’

The full story is at: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/e-cigarettes-now-with-vitamins.

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