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Volume down but revenue up at Imperial

| February 13, 2014

Imperial Tobacco’s tobacco-products volume during the three months to the end of December (Imperial’s Q1) was down by 11 percent on that of the three months to the end of December 2012, according to an interim management statement issued this morning.

Tobacco products here include cigarettes, fine-cut tobacco, cigars and snus.

Tobacco net revenue, meanwhile, was increased by 1 percent to £1,564 million.

“We continue to implement our strategy, strengthening the sustainability and quality of our sales growth,” said CEO Alison Cooper.

“We are focusing on driving our growth brands and targeting opportunities in our growth markets, complemented by resilience in our returns markets.

“The quality of our business continues to improve, with encouraging results from our growth brands which have outperformed the market.

“The quarter has also seen significant progress with our stock optimization program, reducing trade stocks and improving our flexibility and speed to market.

“These results are in line with our expectations.

“We will continue driving our strategy this year, stepping up our investments behind quality growth.

“There is further stock optimization work to be done, whilst our cost optimization program is on track and will contribute toward our investment plans.

“A reasonable working assumption for the full year continues to be for modest growth in EPS at constant exchange rates and for at least a 10 percent increase in dividends.”

Automating e-cigarettes out of China

| February 13, 2014

Freedom Smokeless has unveiled its new, U.S.-built, high-speed e-cigarette automation machinery at the TPC [Tobacco Plus Convenience Expo] 2014 show in Las Vegas.

In a press note issued yesterday through PRNewswire, Freedom, which is an e-cigarette manufacturer based in southern California, said that it was the first U.S.-based company to offer automatic machinery that could provide for affordable cartridge filling, e-cigarette assembly and packaging.

The machinery was designed “to bridge the gap from China to America,” it said.

The first of six machines had been installed in Freedom’s FDA-registered, ISO- and GMP-compliant facilities, the press note said.

By May, all six automated lines would be up and running with the capacity of producing more than 4 million units a week.

“The response at the recent TPC show was overwhelming,” said Glenn Kassel, Freedom’s president and co-founder.

“When watching the video of our automated production, people were amazed that we had developed such sophisticated technology, especially our built-in quality assurance features.”

English smokers fall below 20 percent

| February 13, 2014

The smoking prevalence in England has fallen below 20 percent for the first time in about 80 years, according to a report posted on the BMJ website, quoting research carried out at University College, London.

The latest figures come from a large national surveillance study that has been tracking smoking prevalence in England since 2006.

Each month, a representative sample of about 1,800 people aged 16 years or older is randomly selected to complete a computer-assisted survey with a trained interviewer.

In 2013, 22,167 adults were surveyed, and the prevalence of cigarette smoking was found to be 19.3 percent.

More detailed data are available at www.smokinginengland.info.

TRP and Kentucky Cut Rag complete merger

| February 12, 2014

Tobacco Rag Processors (TRP) and Kentucky Cut Rag, a wholly owned subsidiary of G.F. Vaughan Tobacco Co., have completed merger of their cut-rag operations. The combined company will operate out of Tobacco Rag’s Wilson, North Carolina, USA, headquarters. Derek Vaughan and Conrad Whitaker will join Tobacco Rag as consultants under long-term agreements.

“We are extremely pleased with the combination of our two businesses,” says TRP CEO Davis Miller. “Kentucky Cut Rag and its team are well known in the industry for providing top-quality blends and excellent customer service. The addition of Derek and Conrad to our team as well as a stronger partnership with Vaughan Tobacco Company further ensures our access to top-quality Brazilian and U.S. tobaccos, enabling us to continue providing our customers with consistent blends at competitive prices.”

“We at Vaughan Tobacco Company are excited with the merger of Kentucky Cut Rag and Tobacco Rag,” says Derek Vaughan, CEO of G.F. Vaughan Tobacco Co. “Our two companies share common values and a strategic vision of innovation and quality-driven performance aimed at helping our customers deliver superior products and reduce costs in a competitive market.

“Our customers will benefit from the investments Tobacco Rag has made in a state of the art dry-ice expanded tobacco operation, upgraded primary equipment and an enhanced blend development and quality control team. Conrad and I are excited to be a part of the team that will continue to lead the cut-rag industry for years to come.”

Nicolites inches closer to “medicine” label

| February 12, 2014

An e-cigarette manufacturer is a step closer to seeing its product classified as a medicine—a move that could see the firm supplying the devices for National Health Service (NHS) prescriptions, according to a story in The Birmingham Post.

Nicolites said it was “well advanced” in talks with the medicines regulator over plans to have its products prescribed by medical professionals.

It is one of two known manufacturers—alongside Nicoventures, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco—to apply for a license from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the NHS body responsible for setting down guidance on specific kinds of treatment and care for people using the NHS in England and Wales.

The news—which comes shortly after Nicolites received a major boost with Tesco Express, the second-largest retailer in the world measured by profits, signing up to sell its products—stands to give Nicolites a competitive advantage since it could market its product as a “medicine.”

Nikhil Nathwani, managing director of Nicolites, said the company hoped to achieve marketing authorization sometime this year.

New managing director at Parkside

| February 12, 2014

Parkside Flexibles (Europe) has appointed Nick Smith as its managing director, effective April 1.

Smith succeeds CEO Lawrence Dall, who died in September last year.

Prior to joining Park Flexibles, Smith worked at Sun Chemicals, where he held several positions, including that of managing director of the firm’s U.K.-Nordic division.

Smith holds a degree in economics from Loughborough University and an MBA from Cranfield University’s School of Management.

 

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