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Taxes on tobacco firms set to rise in Bangladesh

| June 8, 2015

Smoking looked set to become costlier in Bangladesh during the new financial year after Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith last week proposed imposing tax increases on tobacco products, acetate tow and tobacco-product paper, according to a story in The Financial Express.

The budget proposals include too plans to increase the corporation tax levied on publicly-traded tobacco companies.

While announcing his budget plans for the fiscal year 2015-16, which begins on July 1, he proposed increasing the excise levied on high-priced cigarettes from 61 percent to 63 percent. The excise on the lowest-priced cigarettes is 43 percent.

“Considering the interest of the local bidi industry workers, no notable reform or changes in tax structures of bidi sector has been brought about for the last couple of years,” said Muhith.

He said currently the prices of 25 non-filter and 20 filter bidis were Tk6.14 and Tk6.92 respectively, and, because of their low prices, most tobacco users smoked this product and became vulnerable to health risks.

“Taking all these factors into consideration, I propose to rationalise the existing tariff value of bidi by raising the price of 25 sticks of non-filter and 20 sticks of filter bidi to Tk7.06 and Tk7.98 respectively,” he said in his budget speech.

The minister proposed cracking down on the collection of an existing 20 percent supplementary duty on the domestic production of cigarette paper, while imposing a 20 percent supplementary duty on bidi paper and increasing the customs duty on acetate tow from 5.0 percent to 25 percent.

He proposed too increasing the corporation tax on publicly-traded tobacco companies from 40 percent to 45 percent.

Alliance to host results conference call

| June 8, 2015

Alliance One International is due to host from 08.00 Eastern Time on June 9 a conference call at www.aointl.com to report its financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31.

A replay of the conference call will be made available from 11.00 on June 9 through 11.00 on June 14 by telephone at (888) 203-1112 from within the US or at (719) 457-0820 from outside the US. The enter access code is 8277671.

Japan Tobacco International introduces new Camel

| June 5, 2015

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Korea has launched Camel Evolution Super Slims, the first low-tar super-slim brand within its Camel lineup.

Camel Evolution Super Slims—which became available for purchase June 4—are a locally customized blend for the Korean market. The product is packaged in a stylish urban design that targets smokers between the ages of 25 and 35, according to JTI Korea.

“Camel Evolution Super Slims provides smokers an opportunity to experience international quality super slims from a global brand at the attractive price of 4,000 won,” JTI Korea said in a press release.

Camel Evolution Super Slims are available in two types: Camel Evolution Super Slims 3 mg, which contains 3 mg of tar and 0.30 mg of nicotine, and Camel Evolution Super Slims 1 mg, which contain 1 mg of tar and 0.10 mg of nicotine.

April sales of the Camel brand increased dramatically, quintupling from the prior year, according to data from market researcher Nielsen.

Czech Republic approves ban on smoking in restaurants, bars

| June 5, 2015

The Czech government has approved a draft bill that will ban smoking in bars and restaurants. Previous governments have attempted to enact the same restrictions but ran into opposition, leaving the Czech Republic as the last EU member to allow unrestricted smoking in restaurants. One quarter of Czechs smoke, according to Eurobarometer.

“With this law, the Czech Republic will embark on a path where the majority of advanced western European countries have gone a long time ago,” said health minister Svatopluk Nemecek, after the center-left cabinet approved the measure. The draft bill must still pass parliament before it can be signed into law by President Milos Zeman.

Seventeen of the 28 EU states have a total ban on smoking in indoor public places, public transport and workplaces, and many other member states have restrictions on smoking in various places.

In addition to bars and restaurants, the proposed legislation would also ban smoking—including the use of e-cigarettes—at concerts and indoor entertainment and sports facilities.

The bill also includes a provision that requires bars and restaurants to offer at least one non-alcoholic drink on their menu at a price that is cheaper than the cheapest alcoholic drink.

Iggesund expands its presence in North America

| June 5, 2015

Iggesund Paperboard is expanding its distribution in the United States by making its flagship product, Invercote, available from coast to coast. The company has established an inventory position and sheeting capabilities in Pomona, California, USA, with the objective of making its flagship product—which is already available in more than 100 countries—readily available for quick-turn market demand.

“We’ve been in the U.S. for more than 30 years, but our distribution footprint has been concentrated on the East Coast,” says Rickard Österlindh, president of Iggesund Americas. “Now is the time to increase our presence on the West Coast, where we know there is a density of brand owners who will appreciate the quality level we offer with Invercote.”

Invercote is a niche product in the United States and is manufactured using a multi-layer construction that prevents it from cracking on the fold, unlike many domestically produced paper and paperboard grades.

“Invercote’s unique attributes truly distinguish it from other products in the marketplace, and as such Iggesund will seek to identify applications where those properties add value,” says Österlindh. “That’s why we’re also reinforcing our U.S. sales organization by recruiting people who can help increase sales both in areas where we had no previous presence and those where we already have a position.”

Iggesund will focus its sales and marketing efforts on premium packaging and graphical print applications, building on a previously established foundation of offset and digital print business.

The company’s enhanced distribution efforts in the U.S. are part of Iggesund’s goal to become a unified global entity by strengthening its service platform outside Europe.

China plans to grow tobacco in Crimea

| June 5, 2015

The Crimean government has announced that a visiting delegation of Chinese businessmen intend to invest in tobacco cultivation within the territory, which was annexed by Russia in March 2014. Chinese equipment and technology would be supplied to the semiautonomous territory, which has been fighting to secure foreign investment amid trade sanctions imposed by Ukraine, the United States and the European Union following Russia’s annexation of the region.

“Tobacco is in huge demand in China, and Crimea has a suitable climate and soil for tobacco cultivation,” the delegation’s leader, Chen Zhijun, was quoted by news agency TASS as saying at a meeting with Crimean leader Sergei Aksyonov.

Aksyonov and Chen on June 4 signed a protocol on investment cooperation, according to a press release posted on the Crimean government’s website.

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