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JT price increases approved in Japan

| February 28, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. said today that the minister of finance had approved the company’s Jan. 30 application to amend the list prices of its domestic tobacco products at the same time as the imposition of a planned consumption tax increase on April 1.

The prices will be increased in most cases by ¥10 or ¥20 a pack.

JT said the price increases reflected the tax rate increase in the weighted average price of the company’s products as a whole.

JT applied to change the list prices of 107 products, including cigarettes, snuff, pipe tobacco and cut tobacco products.

Imperial rewarded for recruitment policies

| February 28, 2014

Imperial Tobacco has won a prestigious national award for the process used to attract potential new employees to work for its business in Turkey.

“Imperial was honoured at the 13th annual Human Respect Awards, organised by Kariyer.net, the nation’s leading recruitment website,” Imperial said in a note posted on its website.

“For the second successive year we were rated highly for our efficiency and transparency in dealing with people applying for vacancies.”

The award was accepted by HR manager Vicdan Merter at an award ceremony in Istanbul attended by some of the country’s top employers.

“At Imperial, responsibility is one of the most important elements of our values and is fundamental to the way we do business,” said Merter.

“This award clearly demonstrates our commitment to treating our employees and potential employees with respect and dignity.”

Unseemly scrap over soggy cigarettes

| February 28, 2014

People in Dorset, England, are being allowed by Border Agency staff to collect cigarette packs washed up on a beach, but are then having the cigarettes taken from them by the agency’s staff, according to a story by Samantha Harman for the Dorset Echo.

“We are letting them spend in some cases hours collecting the packets and we then intercept them up after all their hard work and relieve them of their cargo,” Harman quoted an unnamed agency staff member as saying.

The cigarettes apparently came from a container or containers washed from a ship as it crossed the channel in storms earlier this month.

About 11 million cigarettes were estimated to have been in the shipment, which was on its way from Rotterdam to Sri Lanka.

The caption of a picture of five people with plastic bags and a car that accompanied the story described those people as being police and agency staff with “hundreds of packets of cigarettes.”

BAT’s tobacco volumes down last year

| February 27, 2014

British American Tobacco’s cigarette volumes during 2013, at 676 billion, were down by 2.7 percent on those of 2012.

Volumes were increased in the company’s Asia Pacific region by 4.8 percent to 197 billion, but they were down in the Americas by 5.6 percent to 134 billion, down in Western Europe by 7.7 percent to 119 billion, and down in the EEMEA (Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) by 3.8 percent to 226 billion.

BAT’s tobacco volumes during 2013, at 703 billion, were down by 2.6 percent. Tobacco volumes include, as well as cigarettes, other tobacco products whose volumes are stated in cigarette stick equivalents: 0.8 g of roll-your-own; 0.5 g of make-your-own expanded tobacco; 0.7 g of make-your-own optimized tobacco; one cigar; one pouch of snus; and 2 g of loose snus.

The company blamed the fall in its cigarette volumes on the contracting industry volume in Western Europe and in some key group markets, such as Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and South Africa, partially offset by strong performances in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and countries of the Middle East.

Other tobacco products were said to have continued to have performed well. Fine-cut volume in Western Europe grew by 1.3 percent to 21 billion sticks equivalent as a result of good growth in Italy, Belgium, Germany and Poland, partially offset by declines in the Netherlands and Greece.

“Our international brands grew by 2.1 percent, of which the four global drive brands (GDB) achieved good volume growth of 1.9 percent,” BAT said in presenting its results.

“Dunhill increased volume by 9.7 percent with growth in Indonesia, South Korea and the GCC, partially offset by declines in Malaysia, due to market contraction, and West Africa. Kent volume was down 2.9 percent on [that of] last year as declines, driven by market contractions in Russia, Japan and Romania, were partially offset by growth in the Middle East and Uzbekistan.

“Lucky Strike volume was down by 6.5 percent, mainly driven by the market contraction in Spain, partially offset by higher volume in Philippines and Russia. Pall Mall volume rose by 4.4 percent with strong growth in Chile, Pakistan and Argentina, partially offset by lower volume in Russia, Serbia, Italy and Hungary.”

Rothmans, which this year is being included as one of the company’s GDPs, was said to have performed well with strong growth in Russia, Ukraine, Algeria and Italy.

BAT’s revenue, at £15,260 million, was more or less unchanged, though it was up by 4 percent at constant rates of exchange.

Adjusted profit from operations was up by 3 percent to £5,820 million, and up by 7 percent at constant rates of exchange.

Reported profit from operations was up by 3 percent to £5,526 million, and up by 7 percent at constant rates of exchange.

“British American Tobacco continued to perform strongly in 2013, with another year of excellent earnings growth and cash flow, partially offset by currency headwinds,” said Chairman Richard Burrows in announcing the results.

“The group’s global drive brands also achieved outstanding growth in market share and volume.

“Difficult trading conditions persist in some parts of the world, notably southern Europe, but these results demonstrate that the group’s strategy continues to deliver robust profit and dividend growth.”

Time needed to comply with EU directive

| February 27, 2014

The Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers (CECCM) wants EU member states and the tobacco industry at large to be given reasonable time to adjust to the numerous and complex requirements included in the new Tobacco Products Directive.

The new TPD was adopted by the European Parliament yesterday.

The chairman of the CECCM, Michiel Reerink, said in a statement that the CECCM and its member companies had openly contributed to the TPD debate during the past two years. “We have raised our concerns on the effectiveness of measures that will impact the whole tobacco sector and thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses who work with us,” he said. “Many of these concerns were shared by member states, members of the European Parliament and key parliament committees. Despite their expertise and accountability to European voters, many of them [the concerns] have not been heard.”

Reerink went on to say that, throughout the process, the CECCM and its members had clearly stated that the member companies did not market their products to children. “We have repeated that we support the European Commission’s right to regulate tobacco products, as long as legitimate health objectives are achieved,” he said. “Unfortunately, many of the TPD measures are disproportionate and are unlikely to meet these goals. They will more likely lead to a rise in profits for criminal gangs, who sell much cheaper, unregulated products.

“As the TPD approaches Council adoption, we expect diligence to be taken in allowing realistic transition periods for member states and the industry. Due to the complexity of the numerous measures, tobacco companies, packaging manufacturers, machinery suppliers, wholesalers and retailers must imperatively be given sufficient time to comply with the directive.”

TPD a ‘gift’ for black market criminals

| February 27, 2014

Philip Morris International has expressed concern about the implications of some aspects of the new EU Tobacco Products Directive.

“The Tobacco Products Directive adopted by the European Parliament today represents a worrying departure from the EU’s basic standards of proportionate, evidenced-based policymaking, which will further erode intellectual property rights and undermine the EU Charter where these rights are protected,” said the company’s  EU region president, Drago Azinovic, speaking yesterday.

“Instead of further harmonizing the internal market, a stated objective of the directive, measures in the TPD will make the EU less competitive and be a gift for the criminals profiting from the black market in tobacco.

“This will be a blow to the hundreds of thousands of people working in the legal industry and member state governments now faced with filling budget gaps.”

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