Breaking News

JT rumored to be in talks to buy RAI brand assets

| September 25, 2015

Japan Tobacco Inc. is in talks to buy cigarette assets from Reynolds American Inc, according to a Bloomberg story citing ‘people familiar with the talks’.

The story, by Ed Hammond, Aaron Kirchfeld and Ruth David, said that JTI might acquire assets worth about $5 billion, including some in the Natural American Spirit (NAS) brand that is manufactured by RAI’s Santa Fe operating company.

Commenting on the story, Bonnie Herzog, managing director of Beverage, Tobacco & Convenience Store Research at Wells Fargo Securities, said that, based on Wells Fargo’s sum-of-the-parts analysis, it believed Santa Fe was worth $7.6 billion.

‘While we aren’t sure whether RAI is indeed seriously considering selling some or all of Santa Fe assets at this point or which assets are potentially being considered, regardless we believe this is a win-win scenario for RAI shareholders,’ she said.

‘We believe if the speculation proves true, any transaction would monetize an asset that we have long believed to be underappreciated and undervalued by the market. Alternatively, if RAI retains Santa Fe, we believe the market will give proper credit for the true value of the NAS brand especially as the brand continues to grow.’

The Bloomberg story is at:

EU proposes reform of trade dispute provisions

| September 24, 2015

The EU Commission has gone some way to assuage public concerns over the inclusion in the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions.

Initially, the TTIP was the subject of negotiations between the EU and US to which the general public was not privy, and even now aspects of the process are highly secretive.

Campaigners fear that the ISDS provisions will allow multinational firms, including tobacco companies, to sue European governments in secretive tribunals ruled upon by corporate lawyers.

But according to a story by Erik Tate in The Parliament magazine, on Monday the deputy director general of DG [Directorate General] Trade, Mauro Petriccione, presented the EU Commission’s new draft text on ISDS to the committee on international trade (INTA).

Petriccione was said to have highlighted this move as an unprecedented step by the Commission, since he was not presenting a formal text but a Commission draft. There would be discussions in the Council before it became the text to be used in negotiations with the US.

This was a very special case and an issue of extraordinary importance which had prompted an extraordinary debate. As a result, the Commission had taken the unprecedented step of making the draft public. The Commission had felt that it was inappropriate for it to wait any longer.

Petriccione had noted that there had already been a lot of discussion on this subject, and said the text would attempt to deliver on the EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström’s commitment to use the TTIP as an opportunity for in-depth reform of ISDS.

What had become clear in this process was that there was widespread distrust by citizens of commercial arbitration. The European Parliament clearly interpreted this as a move towards a more jurisdictional approach.

Petriccione said that a concept paper had been discussed in the INTA committee in May, and that the new text followed the structure and objectives of that paper. It contained two fundamental elements:

1) Investment Protection. It continued the work of the Commission to ensure that investment protection standards were clear, well-defined, operational, and could be decided upon in a court of law. Most importantly, the standards would not prevent a government from regulating in the public interest.

2) Public Justice. It represented a move from a system of private justice to one of public justice, in which decisions were taken by public judges in order to restore confidence in their impartiality, judgement and competence to do the job properly.

These were the exact requirements of the European Parliament’s TTIP resolution. The resolution defined protection in a precise legal manner, explicitly mentioned the right to regulate and proposed a new system of resolution which was public, transparent, and included the possibility of appeal to correct any mistakes of law.

The main element, which was new to the proposal, was the article on the right to regulate, which ensured that the right to regulate for public policies was fully preserved.

The provision also clarified that investment protection provisions did not prevent governments from changing the legal framework – known as the non-stabilization clause – even if this had a negative impact on investment expectations.

The full story is at:

Occasional smoking on the rise in Denmark

| September 24, 2015

Forty six percent of Danish upper-secondary students smoke either daily or occasionally, according to an Icenews story citing a new survey by the State Institute of Public Health (SIPH).

The survey is said to have revealed a huge increase in the number of young smokers over the past two decades.

The research, which questioned 75,000 16-19-year-olds in Denmark’s fitness centers, showed that though there had been a fall from 17 percent to 12 percent in the number of people smoking on a daily basis during the past 20 years, there had been a big increase in the number of occasional smokers.

SIPH professor Janne Tolstrup reportedly said that people had not come to grips with how huge a problem smoking was to the public’s health.

She said that considering how much work had been done during the past 20 years to advise young people against smoking, the results could not be viewed as a success.

But Health Minister Sophie Lohde denied claims that the numbers proved preventative measures being taken in Denmark are a failure.

Izmir meeting’s online registration due to close

| September 24, 2015

Online registration for CORESTA’s October agronomy meeting is due to close on Sunday.

The CORESTA Agronomy & Leaf Integrity and Phytopathology & Genetics Joint Study Groups Meeting (AP2015) is due to be held in Izmir, Turkey, on October 25-29.

Online registration will close on September 27, following which only onsite registration will be available.

Registration and details about accommodation are available at

Anti-smoking research institute to open in South Korea

| September 22, 2015

The South Korean government will open an anti-smoking research institute next month, where the ingredients found in tobacco will be studied and the harmful effects of smoking will be assessed. Data gathered at the institute will likely to be used in the government’s ongoing lawsuit against tobacco companies over compensation for health care costs linked to smoking-related diseases.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the institute will be set up at the KCDC’s headquarters in Osong, North Chungcheong province, at the end of October.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the institute’s major objectives include analyzing the ingredients and additives in cigarettes and cigarette smoke, as well as assessing the damage of secondhand exposure. Cigarette makers in South Korea are currently required only to disclose the amount of tar and nicotine present in their products, keeping secret what other ingredients or additives—such as menthol and sugar—are included.

“Such studies have so far been conducted by private institute or the tobacco makers, often facing criticism for lacking credibility,” a KCDC official was quoted as telling the Korea Times. “Government-level studies so far have focused on epidemiological research, but the new institute will concentrate on discovering any direct correlation between smoking and health hazards. Study results will be used for setting up anti-smoking policies and as evidence for the ongoing suit.”

In addition to studying the types and amounts of ingredients—such as nicotine, tar and ammonia—found in cigarettes sold in Korea, the institute will also examine samples of hair, urine and blood to determine the impact of secondhand smoking and its connection to cancer, cardiovascular and infectious diseases, and developmental disorders.

The National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) filed a compensation suit last year with the Seoul Central District Court against three tobacco companies, KT&G, Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco Korea. In the suit, the NHIS demanded 53.7 billion won ($45 million) to recoup the medical costs the organization covered for 3,834 smokers who suffered from cancer of the lungs or larynx.

R.J. Reynolds signs vapor technology term sheet with BAT

| September 22, 2015

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) has signed a technology-sharing term sheet with British American Tobacco (BAT) that provides a framework for collaboration and mutual cross-licensing of vapor product technologies through 2022.

The term sheet is the first step in reaching a definitive agreement under which RJR and BAT will collaborate to develop next-generation vapor products. Specifics of the agreement are still being negotiated by the companies, who have a goal of reaching a definitive contract by the end of the year. The collaboration will include a process for joint research and development activities, as well as cooperation on regulatory, scientific and manufacturing issues related to vapor products.

“This proposed technology-sharing agreement makes great business sense as we lead the transformation of the tobacco industry, allowing us to continue to deliver innovative, high-quality vapor products to adult tobacco consumers seeking smoke-free alternatives,” said Debra Crew, R.J. Reynolds’ president and chief commercial officer.

white cloud cigarettes

pattyn banner

itm banner