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PMI to webcast conference presentation

| November 14, 2013

Philip Morris International is due to host a live audio webcast at of a presentation and question-and-answer session by CEO André Calantzopoulos at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer Conference starting about 12 p.m. Eastern Time on Nov. 20.

The webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, will provide live audio of the entire PMI session.

An archived copy of the webcast will be available at

And the presentation slides and script will be available at the same address.

Football wasn’t the only goal

| November 14, 2013

Imperial Tobacco employees from Germany and Poland recently competed in a football competition staged near to the company’s Tarnowo plant in Poland.

The weekend tournament involved teams from Radom, near Warsaw, and Langenhagen, near Hannover, as well as two teams from Tarnowo.

“It was great for our people from Poland and Germany to meet up outside work and test each other’s hidden talents,” said Radom factory manager Katarzyna Wolińska.

“This was fun for the players and supporters alike, and we hope this becomes a regular fixture in the future.”

Karnataka grower prices surge on strong demand for high-quality flue-cured

| November 13, 2013

Flue-cured prices in Karnataka, India, have risen sharply this year with the highest bid during the 51 days of auctions up to Nov. 8 having reached INR176.40 per kg, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

By Nov. 8, growers had sold 38.12 million kg of the 100 million kg thought to have been produced in Karnataka this year.

In early December 2012, with 28.47 million kg of tobacco having been sold, the top bid had reached INR149.80 per kg.

This season, top-grade bright varieties are said to be fetching an average price of INR164.94 per kg, up 24 percent on that of last year.

Prices for medium-grade varieties, which are averaging INR141.91 per kg, are increased by nearly 21 percent on those of last year.

The high prices this year are said to have been encouraged by the high level of demand for quality leaf.

Last year also saw a surge in prices, but in that case the increase was put down mainly to the introduction of the e-auction system.

Call for ‘repulsive’ warnings in Korea

| November 13, 2013

Moon Hyung-pyo, who has been nominated for the position of minister of health and welfare in South Korea, said yesterday that cigarette prices should be increased in order to deter people from smoking, according to a story in The Korea Times.

Before a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly, Moon said the government needed actively to intervene in setting cigarette prices so as to lower smoking rates.

Cigarettes were the biggest public health threat, he said, before going on to mention alcoholic beverages as well.

Preventing smoking would be the most effective way to promote public health and ease the financial burdens of health insurance holders, he added.

Moon quoted the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs as saying that the “proper” price for cigarettes was WON6,199 a pack. Currently, most prices are within the range of WON2,000 to WON3,000 a pack.

But he went further than championing high prices. “As well as raising the price, other policies such as printing repulsive warning images on packages, should be introduced,” he said.

“I believe a price hike and other warning campaigns are the most effective ways to encourage people to quit smoking.”

Scotland to follow Australia on packaging

| November 13, 2013

Scotland is aiming to become the second country after Australia to impose standardized packaging requirements on tobacco manufacturers, according to Ria Patel, writing in TopNews.

Since Dec. 1, Australia has required that all tobacco products be sold in packaging designed on behalf of the previous Labor government to be as ugly as possible. Packs are hugely dominated by graphic health warnings, are otherwise a standard olive color, have no logos or other design features, and have brand and variant names in a standardized font and position.

The Scottish government has announced that regulations requiring standardized packaging will be in place by 2014–2015.

“To build a generation free from tobacco, it is necessary to restrict the imagery and design that tobacco companies use to pull in another generation to use these addictive and lethal products,” said Public Health Minister Michael Matheson.

Matheson said that, in the meantime, the government would monitor what was happening in Australia in order to gather evidence about the effects of standardized packaging.

This, he said, would help the government initiate a consultation procedure in Scotland.

US government thinking of muscling in on manufacturer payments to growers

| November 13, 2013

The U.S. government has come under fire for considering appropriating millions of dollars that otherwise would be paid by tobacco manufacturers to tobacco growers.

This is not taxpayer money, but the government is in a position to appropriate it because the money passes through the hands of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“The U.S. government is considering withholding millions in non-taxpayer dollars owed to North Carolinians that depend on this income as part of the landmark tobacco buyout settlement,” according to a press note issued by the North Carolina Farm Bureau (NCFB).

“In 2004, the American Jobs Creation Act established the Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP) to help tobacco producers transition to the free market. The program eliminated the tobacco quota and price support system in exchange for 10 annual payments to producers from 2005–2014. The “assets” once held by farmers and quota holders were replaced by legally binding contracts with the USDA, which manages the collection and distribution of TTPP funds. Only the 2014 payment is outstanding for completion of these contracts.

“Where TTPP payments differ from most other federal programs appropriate for sequestration is that these payments are not taxpayer funded; rather, they are funded through fees that are assessed to tobacco companies. [The] USDA’s only role is to pass along the fees collected from tobacco companies and distribute them to contract holders.”

“It does not matter whether the U.S. government decides to hold hostage all or just a portion of the millions of non-taxpayer dollars owed to N.C. tobacco farmers; our state’s economy and its largest industry—agriculture—will be negatively impacted,” said Larry Wooten, president of the NCFB. “We understand the fiscal realities that led to the sequestration of funding for other federal programs, but North Carolina citizens, in good faith, signed these binding contracts with their own government, and many have already factored these payments into their business plans for 2014. We believe the federal government is incorrect in considering sequestering a portion of the tobacco buyout payments owed to farmers in 2014.”

“While North Carolinians are owed the largest portion of the 2014 TTPP payments, farmers and quota holders in all 50 states are also owed money from the federal government,” the press note said. “If paid in full, the 2014 payments would total approximately $1 billion. OMB [Office of Management and Budget] officials have declined to confirm just how much of the payments they are considering withholding.”

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