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Sales up, profit down at Swedish Match

| February 19, 2014

Swedish Match’s sales for the year to the end of December, at SEK12,610 million, were up by 1 percent on those of 2012.

And sales during the fourth quarter of 2013, at SEK3,178 million, were up by 1 percent on those of the fourth quarter of 2012.

Calculated in local currencies, sales for the full year and fourth quarter each increased by 3 percent.

Operating profit from product areas (excluding net profit from SM’s share in the Scandinavian Tobacco Group [STG] and larger one-off items) for the full year was down by 8 percent to SEK3,375 million, while fourth-quarter operating profit from product areas fell by 5 percent to SEK835 million.

In local currencies, operating profit from product areas for the full year dropped by 6 percent and fell by 5 percent during the fourth quarter.

Operating profit (including net profit from SM’s share in STG and larger one-off items) was down by 5 percent to SEK3,855 million for the full year 2013, and down by 5 percent to SEK932 in the fourth quarter.

Basic earnings per share fell during the full year by 5 percent to SEK13.63 and for the fourth quarter by 13 percent to SEK3.43.

Vaping privately in public view

| February 19, 2014

White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes has launched Invisi-Vapor cartridges, which are said to produce 95 percent less vapor than is produced by its ClearDraw cartridges.

“For times when customers do not want to draw unwanted attention to themselves, Invisi-Vapor is the solution,” the company said in a press note issued through PRNewswire.

“White Cloud’s ultra-low vapor formula allows customers to use their e-cigarette in places where being discreet is important, whilst still delivering the same amount of nicotine and flavor as using a standard ClearDraw cartridge.

“When customers use the Invisi-Vapor cartridge, the sensation upon inhaling is identical to that of normal vapor-producing ClearDraw cartridges; the vapor only becomes invisible upon exhaling …”

Invisi-Vapor cartridges are available in regular and menthol flavors.

High hopes as Zimbabwe’s market opens

| February 19, 2014

Zimbabwe’s 2014 flue-cured tobacco marketing season was due to open today, with expectations high for both volume sales and earnings, according to a story in New Zimbabwe.

The 91,000 growers—mostly small-scale farmers—who registered to grow the 2013–2014 crop are thought to have produced about 175 million–185 million kg, up from the 167 million kg produced in 2012–2013 by 65,500 registered growers.

Earnings this season are expected to be higher than the $616 million of last season.

BAT Nigeria provides farmer support

| February 19, 2014

The more than 800 members of the Nigeria Independent Tobacco Association in the Oke Ogun area of Oyo State are to benefit from NGN282 million in interest-free loans from British American Tobacco Iseyin Agronomy (BATIA), a subsidiary of British American Tobacco Nigeria, according to a Business Day story.

The loans, which are to be distributed as this year’s planting season gets underway, are  in addition to the provision by BATIA of seedlings, herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers and technical support.

Thomas Omotoye, head of leaf at BATIA, said his company would provide also environment management and give farmers seedlings so they could plant food crops after harvesting their tobacco.

The company is targeting the recovery of 96 percent of the loans it makes to farmers this year.

Newly emboldened health officials predicting US smoking endgame

| February 18, 2014

Health officials have begun to predict the end of cigarette smoking in the U.S., according to an Associated Press story.

They have long wished for a cigarette-free country but previously have shied away from predicting that smoking rates would fall to near zero by any particular year.

But because of what AP referred to as “a confluence of changes,” they now talk about the adult smoking rate dropping to 10 percent during the next decade and to 5 percent or lower by 2050.

Acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak last month released a 980-page report on smoking that pushed for stepped-up tobacco-control measures.

His news conference was apparently an unusually animated showing of anti-smoking bravado, with Lushniak nearly yelling, repeatedly, “Enough is enough!”

“I can’t accept that we’re just allowing these numbers to trickle down,” he said, in a recent interview with AP. “We believe we have the public health tools to get us to the zero level.”

The full story, including details of the changes that have taken place since 1984 when then Surgeon General C. Everett Koop called for a smoke-free society by 2000, is at http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/02/10/experts-predict-end-smoking-in-america/.

Illicit cigarettes flooding SA’s borders

| February 18, 2014

Counterfeit cigarettes are among the illicit goods most likely to be smuggled across South   Africa’s borders on a daily basis, according to a Mondaq story.

The story said that the illicit trade in counterfeit and genuine cigarettes had grown at a “phenomenal pace” and that cigarettes now comprised one of the most prevalent and problematic counterfeited items available on the black market.

Low production costs and high levels of demand had made counterfeit cigarettes one of the region’s most trafficked goods, with some reports recording that the trade in illegal cigarettes had outgrown sales of narcotics.

Every year, over ZAR4 billion in tax revenue was “lost” to sales of counterfeit cigarettes.

According to the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa, more than 60 percent of all counterfeit cigarettes originate in Zimbabwe, partly due to poor border controls between the two countries.

Packs of counterfeit cigarettes are sold for about ZAR10 a pack, while packs of licit cigarettes retail for about ZAR30.

The story is at odds with a study published at tobaccocontrol.bmj.com a month ago, which found that, with the exception of 2010, there was no evidence that the illicit trade in cigarettes in South Africa was significantly undermining government revenue.

“Claims that illicit trade has consistently increased over the past 15 years, and has continued its sharp increase since 2010, are not supported,” the study concluded.

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