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New COO elected at Universal Corporation

| March 27, 2015

Universal Corporation’s board of directors has elected Airton L. Hentschke as senior vice president and COO, effective April 1.

Hentschke is due to replace W. Keith Brewer, whose retirement as of March 31 was previously reported on July 9.

Hentschke has more than 24 years of experience in leaf operations with Universal, and has worked since 2013 as executive vice president of Universal Leaf Tobacco Company, Incorporated. In this role, he supports Universal’s global tobacco operations.

Previously, Hentschke worked as regional director for the company’s operations in South America, and president of Universal Leaf Tabacos Limitada in Brazil, where he began his employment in 1991.

BAT publishes sustainability summary report

| March 27, 2015

British American Tobacco has reported that it is publishing today its latest ‘Value Shared’ sustainability summary report describing how ‘the company is investing in a sustainable future for its business and society’.

In a note posted on its website, BAT said: ‘The new report covers how, in 2014, the company has enhanced its approach with the development of a new sustainability agenda focused on the most important issues for the business and its stakeholders – harm reduction, sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods, and corporate behaviour – with clear commitments to:

* ‘Research, develop and promote a range of less risky alternatives to regular cigarettes;

* ‘Work to enable prosperous livelihoods for all farmers who supply tobacco leaf;

* ‘Operate to the highest standards of corporate conduct and transparency.’

“Sustainability is not a choice or something that is ‘nice to have’ – it is crucial to securing the future of our company and for creating shared value for our consumers, our shareholders and our stakeholders,” said chief executive Nicandro Durante.

More information and the report are at: www.bat.com/sustainability.

PMI announces date of annual meeting

| March 27, 2015

Philip Morris International is due to hold its Annual Meeting of Shareholders starting at 09.00 on May 6 in the Empire State Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt New York.

Details of the meeting are available at: www.pmi.com/investors.

Grower prices down almost 22 percent in Zimbabwe

| March 26, 2015

With 7.3 million kg of flue-cured tobacco sold, grower prices in Zimbabwe this year, at US$2.23 per kg, are down by almost 22 percent on those of the corresponding period of the 2014 selling season.

And the prices paid during the early part of the 2014 season were themselves down by nearly 30 percent on those of the corresponding period of 2013.

By the end of the 2014 sales season, the average grower price was down by almost 14 percent on that of the 2013 season: US$3.17 per kg as against US$3.67 per kg.

The latest figures, which were provided by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board and relayed by the TMA, indicated that growers had sold by March 20 7.3 million kg of flue-cured tobacco for US$16.2 million: for an average price of US$ 2.23.

During the corresponding period of 2014, growers had sold 9.3 million kg of flue-cured tobacco for US$26.5 million: for an average price of US$2.85 per kg.

Auction floor flue-cured tobacco sales up to March 20 stood at 2.5 million kg, which was sold for an average price of US$1.60 per kg. Sales were down from those of the corresponding period of 2014, when about 3.7 million kg of flue-cured tobacco was auctioned at an average price of US$2.42 per kg.

According to these figures, the average auction grower price was down by nearly 34 percent.

Meanwhile, contract flue-cured tobacco sales totaled 4.7 million kg at an average price of US$2.23 per kg, down from 6.6 million kg at an average price of US$3.14 per kg.

According to these figures, the average contract grower price was down by nearly 29 percent.

Study indicates smokers guided by empathy

| March 26, 2015

Health warnings are more effective when they suggest that cigarette consumption harms smokers and others, than when they suggest only that they harm smokers.

This is the conclusion of a pro-bono study that was initiated by the Neuromarketing Science & Business Association (NMSBA) and that was said to have used neuromarketing techniques.

The ‘Neuro Against Smoking (NAS) Project’ study was said by NMSBA in a press note issued through PRNewswire to have been held in 24 countries spanning six continents.

The study was said to have found that pictorial health warnings were more effective than were text messages only, no matter in which country they were applied.

And it found that warnings about harm done to the smoker and others were more effective than were warnings only about the harm done to smokers. Again, this finding held true no matter which country was being studied.

More details of the study are at: [http://www.nmsba.com/neuro-against-smoking]

India to allow sales of unauthorized flue-cured

| March 26, 2015

The sale of unauthorized flue-cured tobacco will be allowed at auction floors in India, where currently leaf is being sold in Andhra Pradesh, according to a story in the Hindu, relayed by the TMA.

This was announced by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman.

The government levies a penalty of 7.5 percent of the selling price plus Rs2 per kg for unauthorized flue-cured sold by registered growers, and 15 percent of the selling price plus Rs2 per kg for unauthorized flue-cured sold by unregistered growers.

Each registered flue-cured grower may sell a maximum of 270 kg.

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