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BAT thought to be in acquisitive mood

| May 13, 2014

British American Tobacco has asked Deutsche Bank to work with UBS on possible financial deals in the U.S., according to a story by Erika Janowicz for Benzinga.com, quoting a report in The Times of London on Monday.

The article said that BAT had hired the banker to advise the company on possible acquisitions and deals.

The newspaper listed possible opportunities as involving Reynolds American and Lorillard.

Stories have previously suggested that Lorillard, despite its cigarette portfolio being hugely dominated by menthol products, might be an acquisition target for Reynolds, in which BAT has a stake of about 42 percent.

The full story is at http://www.benzinga.com/analyst-ratings/analyst-color/14/05/4547297/british-american-tobacco-looks-at-possible-m-a-deals-wit.

Smile when you smoke in Bangalore—your image might end up on Facebook

| May 13, 2014

Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar has appealed to the public to upload to the Bangalore city police Facebook page photographs showing people smoking tobacco in public places where such activity is banned, according to a story by Chaitanya Swamy for the Bangalore Mirror.

The public is able to inform on smokers also by calling 100.

These measures are said to be part of an intensified drive against smoking in public places, which is banned under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade of commerce, production, supply and distribution) Act, 2003.

Focus on preventing illicit tobacco trade

| May 13, 2014

The prevention of cigarette smuggling is one of five key tasks for Vietnam’s Market Management Agency this year, according to a VietnamNet story quoting Do Thanh Lam, deputy director of the agency.

Lam said that about 600 million–700 million packs of cigarettes were smuggled into Vietnam each year, “causing losses of nearly $190 million to the state treasury.”

During the first four months of the year, the agency seized 400,000 packs of cigarettes and collected VND2 billion (US$100,000) in fines.

According to Lam, the main reason for an increase that has occurred in respect of cigarette smuggling has to do with the tastes of Vietnamese smokers, who preferred foreign products.

Graphic warnings reduced in size

| May 13, 2014

A Sri Lankan court yesterday dismissed a challenge filed by the country’s leading tobacco products manufacturer against the government’s requirement for the inclusion of graphic warnings on cigarette packs, according to a story on Colombo Page.

However, the court reduced the size of the warnings from 80 percent to 50–60 percent.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the petition filed by Ceylon Tobacco Company challenging the government’s special gazette notification of Aug. 8, 2012, requiring the warnings.

Report calls for immediate action against threat posed by tobacco use in Africa

| May 12, 2014

A report by the Network of African Science Academies has called for immediate action to prevent what it says is the growing threat posed by tobacco use in Africa, according to a SpyGhana.com story.

The report, Preventing a Tobacco Epidemic in Africa: A Call for Effective Action to Support Health, Social, and Economic Development, assesses the health, economic, social and environmental effects of tobacco production and use in Africa.

And it reviews current tobacco-control efforts and examines tobacco industry tactics to undermine those efforts.

Among the key conclusions of the report is that smoking prevalence in Africa will increase by nearly 39 percent by 2030: from 15.8 percent in 2010 to 21.9 percent.

Africa is expected to experience the largest regional increase during that period.

The report said that the tobacco industry targeted women disproportionally but that young people represented the largest potential market for tobacco.

“Tobacco-related death and disease are certain to increase in the absence of strong action to prevent tobacco use,” the report said. “The increase in death and disease caused by tobacco could have devastating effects on public health, development efforts, and economic growth in African countries.”

The full story is at http://www.spyghana.com/tobacco-control-in-africa-to-get-urgent-attention/.

MEP raises questions over Imperial’s proposed facility closures in France

| May 12, 2014

Questions have been raised in the European Parliament about the closure of Imperial Tobacco facilities in France.

In a preamble to his questions, French member of the European Parliament Patrick Le Hyaric said Seita had announced that the larger of the last two cigarette manufacturing plants in France was to be closed as part of a restructuring plan.

“The plant, which is located in Carquefou on the outskirts of Nantes, employs 327 people and last year produced 12.2 billion cigarettes, principally under the Gauloises and Gitanes brands,” he said.

“Imperial Tobacco is seeking to make total savings of €385 million between now and 2018, including €72 million this year. The restructuring operations should include the closure of the R&D facility in Bergerac, at which 30 people are employed.”

According to figures provided by Seita, the company employs about 1,150 people at its five facilities outside Paris: two cigarette manufacturing plants at Nantes and Riom; a tobacco processing plant at Le Havre; and two research facilities at Bergerac and Fleury-les-Aubrais.

“Have Seita and Imperial Tobacco been given any funding by the European Union?” the MEP asked. “If so, what sums have been provided and on what basis?

“Does the commission have any reliable information on the profits generated by large tobacco-related companies, such as Seita and Imperial Tobacco, that are looking to close plants in member states?

“Given that there is no indication that Imperial Tobacco Group is in financial difficulties and that the Nantes plant is to be closed because it is loss-making, how does the commission intend to protect workers against job losses that are not based on economic necessity?

“Does the commission intend to keep an eye on redundancy plans that are not based on economic necessity? What can the EU do to counter the trend of closing down operations that are viewed as not generating adequate returns for large private investors, despite still being profitable?”

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