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Imperial to hold AGM on Wednesday

| February 3, 2014

Imperial Tobacco is due to hold its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday.

Presentation slides and transcript from the meeting will be available after the event on the company’s website, at http://www.imperial-tobacco.com.

Information about the meeting is at: http://www.imperial-tobacco.com/index.asp?page=516.

Alliance to host results conference call

| February 3, 2014

Alliance One International is due to hold a conference call starting at 17.00 hours Eastern Time on February 4 to report financial results for its third quarter ended December 31.

The webcast will be at www.aointl.com, where would-be participants need to register15 fifteen minutes in advance.

A replay of the conference call will be available by telephone from 20.00 hours on February 4 through to 20.00 hours on February 9 on (888) 203-1112 (free within the US), or (719) 457-0820 (free outside the US), access code 2501802.

Universal to host results conference call

| February 3, 2014

Universal Corporation is due to webcast a conference call at www.universalcorp.com starting at 17.00 hours Eastern Time on February 6 following the release after market close on that day of its results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2014.

The conference call, which will be in listen-only mode, will be hosted by Candace C. Formacek, vice president and treasurer.

A replay of the webcast will be available at www.universalcorp.com until May 6.

And a taped replay of the call will be available free from 20.30 hours on February 6 until February 20 at (855) 859-2056; telephone replay identification number 41522646.

PM USA’s cigarette shipments down by 4.1 per cent in year to end of December

| January 31, 2014

Philip Morris USA’s cigarette shipment volume during the 12 months to the end of December, at 129,312 million, was down by 4.1 per cent on that of the 12 months to the end of December 2012.

Marlboro shipments were down by 4.3 per cent to 111,421 million while shipments of other premium brands were down by 10.5 per cent to 7,721 million.

Discount brand shipments were increased by 3.1 per cent to 10,170 million.

PM USA’s share of the retail cigarette market during the year to the end of December, at 50.6 per cent, was up by 0.3 of a percentage point.

Marlboro’s share was up by 0.1 of a percentage point to 43.7 per cent while that of the company’s other premium brands was down by 0.1 of a percentage point to 3.1 per cent.

The company’s discount-brands share was up by 0.3 of a percentage point to 3.8 per cent.

In reporting its full-year and fourth-quarter results yesterday, Altria said that PM USA’s 2013 fourth-quarter and full-year reported domestic cigarettes shipment volumes had declined by 5.8 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively, primarily due to the industry’s rate of decline, changes in trade inventories and other factors, partially offset by retail share gains. ‘When adjusted for trade inventories and other factors, PM USA estimates that its domestic cigarettes shipment volume was down approximately four per cent for both the fourth quarter and the full year, which is consistent with the estimated category decline,’ it said.

Middleton’s cigar shipments during the year to the end of December, at 1,198 million, were down by 3.2 per cent on those of the year to the end of December 2012.

Shipments of Black & Mild were down by 3.4 per cent to 1,177 million while shipments of other brands were increased by 16.7 per cent to 21 million.

The fall in cigar shipments during the full year was put down to changes in wholesale inventories and retail share loss.

The company’s share of the domestic retail cigar market was down by 1.4 percentage points to 29.4 per cent, with Black & White’s share down by 1.3 percentage points to 29.2 per cent and the share of its other brands down by 0.1 of a percentage point to 0.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, PM USA and USSTC’s combined smokeless product shipments (cans and packs) during the year to the end of December, at 787.5 million, were increased by 3.2 per cent on those of 2012.

Copenhagen shipments were increased by 8.6 per cent to 426.1 million while Skoal shipments were down by 1.6 per cent to 283.8 million.

Other-brand shipments were down by 5.8 per cent to 77.6 million.

PM USA and USSTC’s combined share of the retail market in smokeless tobacco increased by 0.2 of a percentage point to 55.0 per cent.

Copenhagen’s share was increased by 1.4 percentage points to 29.3 per cent while Skoal’s share was down by 1.1 percentage points to 21.4 per cent.

The share of the companies’ other brands was down by 0.5 of a percentage point to 4.3 per cent.

“Altria delivered another year of strong results for its shareholders in 2013,” said Marty Barrington, chairman and CEO.

“Altria grew its full-year adjusted diluted earnings per share by 7.7 per cent on the strength of its diverse business model and solid performance by its core businesses.

“Higher pricing and our operating companies’ brand-building activities contributed to operating companies’ income growth in all three of our reportable segments.

“Altria also took important steps toward future growth in e-vapor and other innovative products for adult tobacco consumers. MarkTen is performing well in the e-vapor category, including its expanded test market in Arizona.

“Further, we believe our agreements with Philip Morris International create the foundation for commercializing our e-vapor products abroad and opportunities to expand our portfolio of innovative products in the US.”

Tobacco harvest could hit 185 million kg

| January 31, 2014

Zimbabwe’s flue-cured tobacco production could reach 185 million kg this season (2013-14), 11 per cent more than that of last season, according to a story in The Zimbabwe Mail quoting an industry official speaking ahead of the start of the selling season in February.

“The outlook is quite encouraging and we will easily surpass the 167 million kg we got last year,” the official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the press.

“We have 20,000 more farmers and the minimum we can expect is 175 million kg, but it can go as high as 185 million kg.

“The quality is better too.”

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has announced that that the selling season will open on 19 February.

Minister compromises on warnings

| January 31, 2014

Sri Lanka’s Attorney General on Wednesday told the Court of Appeal that the Minister of Health was agreeable to reduce the size of the pictorial warnings required on tobacco-product packs to 70 per cent of the display areas, according to a story by Chitra Weerarathne for The Island.

He said warnings occupying 80 per cent of the display areas had been the idea of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol.

The Ceylon Tobacco Company had filed a Writ Application against a recent gazette notification published by the Minister of Health making it mandatory for pictorial warnings to cover 80 per cent of the display areas.

The petitioner asked the Court to reduce the size of the pictorial warnings ‘reasonably’.

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