Breaking News

Sugar is the new tobacco

| July 14, 2014

Kuwait’s Ministry of Health is considering whether it should ask the government to increase taxes on tobacco products and cancel subsidized sugar from the monthly rations of its citizens, according to a Kuwait News Agency report quoting the ministry’s undersecretary, Khaled Al-Sahlawi.

The proposed moves would be aimed at reducing the incidence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Al-Sahlawi said the ministry was considering a number of ideas, one of which would be to end the government’s subsidy on sugar while providing people with a healthier alternative.

“These ideas also include increasing tax on tobacco products to reduce smoking as Kuwait has one of the world’s lowest tobacco tax rates,” he said.

Nominal duty increase will have impact

| July 14, 2014

Although an excise-duty increase on cigarettes by the Nepalese government has been described as “nominal”; it is nonetheless expected to have an impact on the tobacco trade in the long term, according to a Republica story quoting a tobacco manufacturing executive.

In the budget for fiscal year 2014–2015, which Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat unveiled yesterday, excise duties on cigarettes and cigars were raised by NPR500 per 1,000 pieces to NPR3,500 per 1,000.

“Though the government has been increasing excise duty on tobacco products annually to discourage their consumption, it affects traders and manufacturers,” said Ravi KC, vice president of Surya Nepal, the leading cigarette manufacturer in the country.

“Though the hike in excise duty is nominal, the industry is sure to see impact in the long run.”

Imperial employees provide flood relief

| July 14, 2014

Employees from across Imperial have been helping to support those affected by the severe floods in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia.

The heaviest downpours for 120 years saw communities flooded and thousands of people left homeless and cut off.

A number of Imperial employees were directly impacted, including two sales representatives in Bosnia who lost their homes as a result of the floods.

Thousands of people have been left homeless by the floods.

Thousands of people have been left homeless by the floods.

Money has been collected from Imperial employees, including those working at the company’s head office in the U.K., to help them rebuild their homes.

“We’re very grateful to our colleagues from across the group for their generous support during this very difficult time,” said Tanja Mihajlovic, HR manager, Northern Balkans.

Omnipack acquires Torcapack

| July 11, 2014

omniCTI Invest and Omnipack have taken over all activities of Torcapack, a Spanish producer of shoulder boxes for the tobacco industry.

The operations will remain in Antequera but will be operated and administrated by from Omnipack’s Barcelona headquarters. The shoulder-boxes business will be incorporated under the brand name Omnipack in the future.

The acquired activities will provide Omnipack with new business opportunities due to improved production capacity and enhanced varieties of production formats as well as a higher degree of operating flexibility.

This acquisition fits into Omnipack’s strategy of strengthening its global presence in the shoulder-boxes business and to offer a wide variety of high-quality products to customers around the world.

Omnipack’s product portfolio covers packaging and labels solutions for the beverage, tobacco and food industries. Headquartered in Austria, CTI Invest is a global player in the packaging and label industry with production sites in Austria, Italy, Spain, Canada, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina.


Imperial statement gives credence to RAI/Lorillard merger speculation

| July 11, 2014

Imperial Tobacco has confirmed that it is in discussions with Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) and Lorillard about the possible acquisition of certain brands and assets owned by RAI and Lorillard.

Imperial’s statement supports speculation that RAI is in talks over the acquisition of Lorillard because any such merger would require the divestment of brands so as to avoid anti-trust issues.

Bonnie Herzog, managing director for beverage, tobacco and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities, who has been commenting on a possible RAI/Lorillard deal since at least early March, said today that, based on reports by the Financial Times and Bloomberg, an announcement was expected “very soon.”

Herzog said she expected that Imperial, through its U.S. operation, Commonwealth Brands, might acquire several of the smaller, nonpriority brands in an attempt to pre-empt any potential U.S. FTC (Federal Trade Commission) anti-trust issues.

Earlier this week, further speculation had it that British American Tobacco, which already owns 42 percent of RAI, might make a bid to acquire the remaining 58 percent when, at the end of this month, a standstill agreement between BAT and RAI is due to expire.

Herzog maintained, however, that a RAI/Lorillard deal was more likely, though she added that, if a BAT/RAI merger did occur, ultimately it was likely that Lorillard would be acquired by a combined BAT/RAI.

She said yesterday that the RAI/Lorillard deal would have the “blessing” of BAT.

Meanwhile, in a statement posted on its website, Imperial said it noted the recent speculation relating to a potential transaction involving RAI and Lorillard.

“Imperial confirms it is in discussions with Reynolds and Lorillard to evaluate a possible acquisition of certain assets and brands owned by Reynolds and Lorillard,” the statement said.

“The USA remains one of the world’s largest and most profitable cigarette markets. Imperial would proceed with an acquisition only if its terms met strict transaction criteria.

“There can be no certainty as to the terms upon which any acquisition or related debt financing may be agreed or whether any transaction will take place. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”

Calls for tighter anti-tobacco law in China

| July 11, 2014

Anti-tobacco activists in China have called for Beijing’s proposed smoking control legislation to be more tightly defined, according to an story.

The legislation, which is currently under review, is scheduled to take effect next year.

It includes a proposal that smoking be banned in public places, but Zhang Jianshu, head of the Beijing Patriotic Health Campaign Committee, who was invited to take part in the review, said he was urging lawmakers to define in the legislation exactly what was meant by “public places.”

She said too that 15-meter smoke-free buffer zones should be established at places such as sports stadiums and railway and subway stations. While there was a growing consensus for a smoking ban in enclosed public places, the concept of buffer zones needed further promotion.

Outdoor places such as parks, which were frequented by children, should also be made smoke-free under the new law, she said.

Meanwhile, Cui Xiaobo, a professor of social medicine at Capital Medical University in Beijing, said the law ought to ban tobacco sales to minors.

Currently, a ban on sales to minors was included in the law on the protection of minors, but who was supposed to enforce that was not clearly defined, he said.

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