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American earns top sustainability award

| August 6, 2014

The American Snuff Company (ASC) has been awarded the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) highest award for sustainable business practices, the Tennessee Green Star Partnership Three-Star Certification.

ASC, an indirect subsidiary of Reynolds American (RAI), is the first Memphis-based company and the 13th in Tennessee to hold this award.

“ASC-Memphis is very pleased and proud to be recognized by the state of Tennessee Green Star Partnership,” said Mick Spach, president of ASC, in a note posted on RAI’s website. “Our employees have actively implemented responsible conservational programs and are continually striving to improve our environmental performance. Our commitment to environmental sustainability is consistent with our commitment to leading the transformation of the tobacco industry.”

The Tennessee Green Star Partnership is TDEC’s environmental leadership program that seeks to recognize organizations that are committed to sustainable practices and continuous improvement throughout their entire operation.

“We are honored that American Snuff Company has joined the Tennessee Green Star Partnership at the Three-Star Partner level,” said Curtis Hopper, Office of Sustainable Practices with the TDEC. “It is a great accomplishment for a new member to enter the partnership at the highest level, which attests to the quality of American Snuff’s environmental management system.”

ASC Memphis is the second RAI subsidiary to receive state-level recognition for their outstanding sustainability efforts. Earlier this year, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company was awarded the highest level of recognition in North Carolina’s Environmental Stewardship Initiative.

ASC is the US’ second-largest manufacturer of smokeless tobacco products. Its leading brands are Grizzly and Kodiak.

Universal declares quarterly dividends

| August 6, 2014

Universal Corporation’s board of directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.51 per share on the company’s common shares, payable on November 10 to shareholders of record at the close of business on October 14.

In addition, the board declared a quarterly dividend of $16.875 per share on the company’s Series B 6.75% Convertible Perpetual Preferred Stock (Series B Preferred Stock), payable on September 15 to shareholders of record as of 17.00 hours Eastern Time on September 1.

Multinationals picketed in Russia

| August 5, 2014

A series of pickets against multinational tobacco companies were staged yesterday in a number of Russian cities stretching from the south to the northwest of the country, according to an ITAR-TASS story.

The picketers seemed to have had a number of grievances, not all of which could be laid at the door of the multinationals. Some were protesting about multinational companies controlling more than 90 percent of the Russian tobacco market.

But others complained that the Russian budget was missing out on about 500 billion rubles annually because of what they described as low excise duties on tobacco.

And those at Saratov, on the Volga, were demanding that the BAT-STF tobacco factory, owned by British American Tobacco, be relocated beyond the city boundaries.

Roman Plyuta, head of the Orthodox Union, which set up a picket in front of the Philip Morris Kuban factory in the southern city of Krasnodar, was said to have told ITAR-TASS that transnational corporations made “cigarettes of such quality that they would never be allowed in the United States or other Western countries.”

The smoking of these cigarettes “doubles and even triples [health] risks,” he added.

Plyuta said he believed that Western manufacturers added special ingredients to their cigarettes so that smokers became strongly addicted to them, even after a short period of smoking.

Andhra tops COPTA prosecution table

| August 5, 2014

Andhra Pradesh, the volume leader in flue-cured tobacco production in India, is also the top state in prosecutions relating to violations of anti-tobacco laws.

According to an Indian Television report, between April 2012 and September 2013, 71,705 people were prosecuted in Andhra and fined INR5,283,948 for having broken the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA).

Of the 21 states for which data was available, six had not reported any prosecutions for COTPA violations during the period in question, and only four states had exceeded the “prosecution challenge” of more than 10,000 persons.

In Tamil Nadu, 26,081 persons were prosecuted and fines of INR2,773,750 were levied; Karnataka, the second most important state for volume flue-cured tobacco production, recorded 19,030 prosecutions and fines of INR1,958,724; and Rajasthan prosecuted 12,891 people, who were fined INR1,351,314.

Based upon a request by the Health & Family Welfare Ministry, the then home secretary in May this year advised the director generals of police in states and union territories to incorporate COTPA as one of the agenda items in the monthly crime review meetings at district level.

Imperial ups fight against illicit trade

| August 5, 2014

Imperial Tobacco said today it had rolled out Case Trace technology in four European factories and six markets to enable it better to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products.

“A cross-functional project team comprising Group IS, Global Engineering and Supply Chain plus factory and market teams worked for two years to successfully implement the technology,” according to a note posted on its website.

“Markets can use Case Trace to track bulk supplies to customers and identify any that falls outside the legitimate supply chain.

“This can be used as evidence for authorities to seize illegal product and demonstrates our commitment to the OLAF [EU anti-fraud office] anti-illicit trade agreement.”

“The Coding and Tracking project managers have done a fantastic job in driving this work, but they couldn’t have done so without the efforts of hundreds of others all working together,” said Olaf Huderitz, head of Supply Chain Services and project sponsor.

Case Trace is now operational in 11 factories covering 13 EU markets.

The next phase will see it rolled out in Germany and global duty free.

Keeping tabs on cigarettes.

Keeping tabs on cigarettes.

E-cigarette store at Dublin airport

| August 5, 2014

The Electronic Cigarettes International Group says that its subsidiary, VIP Electronic Cigarettes, has opened a new flagship retail store within Dublin International Airport’s Terminal 2.

According to a Business Wire press note, the Dublin airport store is the first dedicated e-cigarette store to be located in an airport in Ireland.

VIP says that it now has 32 retail stores and mobile retail kiosks “throughout Ireland, cementing the company’s position as the market leader for electronic cigarettes in Ireland.”

The opening of a store at Dublin Airport is said to be part of ECIG’s and VIP’s initiative to locate retail stores and retail merchandising units within high consumer traffic locations, including airport and train transit venues, and other key locations where smokers are looking to vape.

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