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BAT to close documents depository

| August 4, 2015

British American Tobacco said on Friday that it intends to close its Guildford Depository, a publicly accessible depository that was established in 1999 as part of a settlement in a US lawsuit entitled State of Minnesota v. Philip Morris, et al.

BAT, which was released from the requirement to maintain the depository in 2011, says that it will be closed on October 31.

“British American Tobacco has not been legally obliged to keep the Guildford Depository open for several years and it is a facility that is expensive to maintain,” a company spokesperson was quoted as saying in a note posted on its website.

“The vast majority of documents in the Guildford Depository are available online via third party websites and we haven’t received any visitors to the site in over three years.

“That said, we hope that by providing three months’ notice, anyone interested in visiting the site will have the opportunity to do so before it closes.”

BAT said that all of the Guildford Depository documents would be moved to a long-term storage facility and retained.

New president for Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco

| August 4, 2015

The Philippines’ Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) has named a new president to take over from Paul Riley, according to an ABS-CBN News story.

The company said that Roman Militsyn would take over as the new president on August 16.

Militsyn has been managing director of Philip Morris’ affiliate in Argentina since 2011. He started working for Philip Morris in 1994.

Riley, who will transfer to Philip Morris International, Japan, this month, will be assisting Militsyn during the transition period.

AOI to host 1Q results conference call

| August 4, 2015

Alliance One International said yesterday that it would hold from 17.00 Eastern Daylight Time on August 5 a conference call to report its financial results for the first quarter ended June 30.

A live broadcast of the conference call will be available at www.aointl.com, where it is necessary to register 15 minutes in advance.

A telephone replay will be made available from 20.00 on August 5 through 20.00 on August 10 on (888) 203-1112 within the US and (719) 457-0820 outside the US; access code 1002797.

JT’s domestic volume down, international volume up

| August 3, 2015

Japan Tobacco Inc.’s domestic cigarette sales during the six months to the end of June, at 53.1 billion, were down by 3.7 percent on those of the six months to the end of June 2014. Volume sales were said to have been ‘affected’ by an industry-wide volume decline.

In announcing its results, JT said that it had continued to undertake marketing and sales initiatives primarily focused on Mevius.

The continued popularity of Premium Menthol Option products, an extension to the Premium Menthol line, had driven further the growth of the Mevius brand’s overall share, which had been improving consistently and had reached 32.3 percent in April-June 2015, up from 31.3 percent in the same quarter of the previous year, when the brand was significantly affected by the temporary slowdown that followed a consumption tax hike.

Core revenue for the domestic business during the six months to the end of June, at ¥312.2 billion, was down by 1.0 percent on that of the six months to the end of June 2014, while adjusted operating profit was increased by 6.8 percent to ¥125.8 billion.

JT said that core revenue declined as a result of the decrease in volume sales, partly offset by an improved price/mix effect.

Meanwhile, Japan Tobacco International’s volume during the six months to the end of June, at 191.2 billion, was increased by 0.3 percent on that of the six months to the end of June 2014, 190.6 billion.

Shipments of JTI’s global flagship brands (GFB) were up by 7.2 percent from 123.0 billion to 131.9 billion.

JTI’s overall and GFB shipment volume increases were said to have reflected positive performances in the Benelux markets, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey, as well as the favorable impact of last year’s trade inventory adjustments in the Middle East and Turkey. JTI’s market share grew in most of its key markets, namely France, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey and the UK.

JTI’s core revenue during the six months to the end of June, at ¥609.2 billion was up by 1.2 percent on that of the six months to the end of June 2014, ¥602.0 billion, while adjusted operating profit was down 3.2 percent from ¥219.9 billion to ¥212.9 billion.

In US dollars, core revenue and adjusted operating profit at constant foreign exchange rates were said to have grown by 6.7 percent and 14.6 percent respectively, driven by a robust price/mix and positive GFB momentum.

On a reported basis, core revenue and adjusted operating profit declined 13.9 percent and 17.5 percent respectively as a result of currency fluctuations against the US dollar.

Including the results of JT’s other businesses, the group’s revenue during the six months to the end of June, at ¥1,171.7 billion, was little changed from that of the six months to the end of June 2014, ¥1,172.0 billion.

Adjusted operating profit was increased by 1.9 percent to ¥327.9 billion while operating profit was down by 6.7 percent to ¥290.0 billion.

JT’s president and CEO, Mitsuomi Koizumi, said the group’s international tobacco business had shown solid first half-year results amid a continuously challenging operating environment.

“In the second half of the year, we will accelerate our investments to further strengthen brand equity, geographic reach and emerging product portfolio,” he said.

“Domestically, we witnessed steady progress toward our full year target, despite increasingly intensifying market competition.

“Looking ahead, the solid business performance and profit growth have laid a firm foundation for achieving our annual goals.”

573 jobs to be ‘affected’ by Moscow factory closure

| August 3, 2015

Japan Tobacco said on Friday that it was going to close its Moscow factory by the middle of next year because of the serious contraction that had occurred on Russia’s tobacco market.

‘The operating environment has changed dramatically in Russia, with significant declines in tobacco demand driven by tax increases, tighter regulations and a challenging economic situation,’ JT said in a note posted on its website.

‘The company came to this conclusion following a thorough analysis of the situation and of all available options.

‘The Moscow factory will cease to operate by mid-2016, with production moving to the company’s St. Petersburg factory.

‘This move will affect 573 jobs. Impacted employees will be offered generous compensation, significantly above the labor legislation requirements in Russia.’

JT said it was committed to maintaining a strong market presence in Russia and would continue to invest for sustainable business growth in the mid- to long-term.

The factory closure was expected to have minor effect on the group’s consolidated performance for the fiscal year 2015.

Greece looking to reduce tobacco tax avoidance

| August 3, 2015

Draft legislation introduced in Greece on Thursday is aimed at reducing the country’s black market in tobacco products, according to a story by A. Makris for greekreporter.com.

As described, the law would affect all aspects of manufactured tobacco, from packing to retail sales, based on the application of an electronically readable tax and security band.

Greek State Minister, Panagiotis Nikoloudis, who presented the draft legislation, said it was aimed at reducing tax avoidance while ‘cleaning up’ the sector for the benefit of licit players, who would regain their competitive advantage.

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