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Bergerac R&D in cost-cutting sights

| April 22, 2014

As part of its cost-cutting plans, Imperial Tobacco intends to “offload” its research center in Bergerac, France, according to a story in Le Figaro.

Imperial said last week that it was proposing to close its cigarette factories at Nottingham, U.K., and Nantes, France, as part of a cost optimization program aimed at delivering savings of £300 million a year from September 2018.

It said the projects, which are planned to be “implemented progressively” during the next two years, were aimed at strengthening its competitive position.

The “European restructuring projects” could see 900 jobs axed.

Pleasures for poor people—what next?

| April 22, 2014

MPs in Uganda have queried why tobacco farmers look poor while tobacco companies look rich, according to a story by John Odyek for The New Vision.

The MPs were apparently attending a meeting at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel to discuss the Tobacco Control Bill 2014.

“People who have planted tobacco live in grass-thatched houses,” said David Muhumuza (Mwenge North). “Are our farmers getting anything?”

Compared to other farmers, tobacco farmers are relatively well off. The Uganda National Household Income Survey 2012–2013 showed that average monthly household incomes for rural areas stood at UGX325,000, while tobacco farmers earned more than UGX426,624 per month.

Some of the MPs were said to have asked tobacco companies to ensure that growers who receive cash payments don’t misuse them for “pleasures.”

The story didn’t mention whether the consumption of tobacco products might be regarded as such a misuse.

Jonathan D’Souza, the managing director of British American Tobacco Uganda, was quoted as saying his company had helped more than 20,000 tobacco farmers open bank accounts in Post Bank at a cost of UGX1.2 billion.

There were 60,000 tobacco farmers in more than 25 districts and tobacco was one of the leading foreign exchange earners for Uganda.

BAT Uganda supported food security for farmers through the issuance of free hybrid maize seed in its annual Food After Tobacco program, and engaged in afforestation programs to ensure that tobacco growing and curing activities had a minimal impact on the environment, added D’Souza.

Shipping cigarette butts to useful ends

| April 22, 2014

Australia Imps pic2Imperial Tobacco Australia is helping to fund a pioneering scheme to recycle cigarette butts.

The business is partnering with recycling firm Terracycle to encourage people over the age of 18 to sign up to its Cigarette Waste Brigade.

Other tobacco companies are also providing financial support for the scheme.

Those taking part can send cigarette waste to Terracycle, at no cost, to have it recycled into products such as shipping pallets, railway sleepers and ashtrays.

For every kilogram of waste received, Terracycle will donate $2 to the sender’s nominated charity.

“The best approach to tackling cigarette litter is for key stakeholders, including the tobacco industry, to work together to educate and change people’s behaviour,” said Imperial’s communications manager in Australia, Michelle Park.

“Terracycle has developed a truly innovative solution for cigarette waste, one that enables consumers to take greater responsibility for butt litter, and we’re proud to be involved.”

New Universal business includes sweetener for tobacco growers

| April 17, 2014

Universal Corp. said yesterday that it had entered the fruit and vegetable food ingredients market through its new subsidiary, Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients (CIFI).

“The new business will utilize advanced technology to produce high-quality, food-grade dehydrated and juiced fruit and vegetable products,” Universal said in a note posted on its website. “Initially the business will focus upon value-added ingredients derived from sweet potatoes.”

CIFI expects to invest about $20 million over two years in a new juice and dehydration facility that will be located in Nash County, North Carolina, USA, and managed by the company’s North American regional management team.

The business is expected to begin production during the first quarter of 2015 and to employ about 64 people.

“Universal continues to seek out growth opportunities that enhance our company’s value and help to sustain tobacco growers,” said George C. Freeman III, chairman, president and CEO.

“With this new business, we will be able to offer high-quality food ingredients to the food and pet food manufacturing industries while providing tobacco growers with a new market for sweet potatoes. Nearly half of U.S. sweet potato production comes from North Carolina, and they are often grown in rotation with tobacco.”

Read this important Siegel blog—now

| April 17, 2014

In a hard-hitting blog published yesterday, Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, has shone a little light into some of the murky corners of U.S. tobacco control legislation.

He is at times scathing about the road that led to regulations on “lights” descriptors and flavors—regulations that have not achieved what the public might reasonably have expected them to have achieved.

Reading the blog it seems as though the public would have been better served if the regulatory process had been removed from the smoke-filled rooms in which it was apparently concocted, and then infused with the sort of candor that Siegel brings to these matters.

His blog is at

Flue-cured prices rising steeply in Andhra

| April 17, 2014

Flue-cured tobacco prices have been rising steeply on the auction floors of Andhra Pradesh, India, and recently hit a new high of INR172 per kg at the Koyyalagudem floors in the West Godavari district of the state, according to a story in the most recent issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

The story said that tobacco prices had been strong in Andhra this year, from the beginning of the auctions and across all regions.

Even the lowest-quality tobacco has fetched an average of INR88.81 per kg this year, against the INR88.38 per kg fetched last year.

Thirty-five days into the selling season, 26.20 million kg of flue-cured had been sold, of which 18.94 million kg comprised bright grades.

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