Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco, the Philippines’ biggest cigarette manufacturer is cutting 640 employees from its Marikina plant; or about 30 percent of the plant’s workforce, according to a number of reports.
“This was a very difficult decision to make but in order to maintain a viable operation and to safeguard the future of our business in Marikina, it was necessary to take this step,” the company’s president, Paul Riley, was said to have told ABS-CBN News.com.
“We always treat our employees with the utmost respect, and all affected employees were given very generous separation packages, well in excess of legal requirements.”
Riley said the company had already issued notices of termination and ‘a source’ was said to have reported that employees had been told on Monday that they would be out of a job by February 15.
The company’s market share stood at 70.9 percent in June 2014 down from 76.7 percent in the same month of the previous year, according to a story in The Philippine Daily Inquirer citing ‘the latest industry data’.
In April last year, Philip Morris Limited announced that it was to stop cigarette manufacturing in Australia with the loss of 180 jobs from its plant at Moorabbin, Victoria. And later the same month, Philip Morris Holland (PMH) announced that it intended to end cigarette production at Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands, with the loss of about 1,230 jobs.
Malaysia-based Bright Packaging Industry Bhd has entered into an agreement to supply aluminium foil worth US$15 million to ZAO Philip Morris Izhora, a Russia-based affiliate of Philip Morris International, according to a story in the Sun Daily, Malaysia.
In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, Bright Packaging said the agreement would remain in force until December 31, 2016, and might be renewed for additional terms upon written agreement of the parties.
Concerned about a possible fall in demand for leaf tobacco on international markets, the Tobacco Board of India has called on flue-cured growers in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to stick to the authorized production targets for 2014-2015, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.
The board has fixed a flue-cured crop size of 276 million kg for 2014-15, with the Andhra crop pegged at 172 million kg and the Karnataka crop set at 104 million kg.
However, if the board’s request was a recent one it seems to have come a little late. Eighty nine days into the selling season, Karnataka has already sold more than 46.25 million kg for an average price of Rs114 a kg, with best quality, bright leaf grades attracting a top price of Rs167 a kg.
And it has been announced already that auctions in Andhra are set to begin during the third week of February.
However, the board chairman, K. Gopal, expressed concern that countries such as the US, Brazil and Zimbabwe had produced surplus leaf during the past two years and that supply was now far in excess of demand.
There was a glut on tobacco markets because of the general decline in tobacco consumption in developed countries and because several international cigarette companies were holding huge stocks, he was quoted as saying.
India was exposed also because of the economic problems in Russia and the devaluation of the rouble.
But Gopal urged Indian tobacco exporters to consider implementing a minimum export price and not to undervalue or undersell tobacco on international markets.
And he said it was the duty of the trade to support growers in times of crisis by paying the minimum guaranteed price, even though it wasn’t legally bound to do so.
Mekelle, the capital of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, has become the first Ethiopian city to ban tobacco smoking in public places, according to a story in The Sudan Tribune.
A bill banning smoking was passed unanimously last year by Ethiopian lawmakers and Mekelle has become the first city to implement the bill’s regulations.
The new law restricts smoking in enclosed public places, such as bars and restaurants, but also in open spaces, including sports venues, schools, hospitals, health centres, and other areas where cultural and religious events take place.
The law requires all public and private bodies to post ‘No Smoking’ signs on their premises and forbids the media from advertising or promoting tobacco products.
According to sources in Mekelle, individuals caught violating the regulations will be fined $50, while bar owners who fail to enforce the new laws will face a $150 fine.
Italy is making moves to ban tobacco smoking in outdoor areas such as parks, beaches and stadiums, and to stop actors lighting up on film and television sets, according to a story in The Local.
And according to a story in La Repubblica, smoking could be banned in cars, ‘especially’ – but presumably not exclusively – when ‘children’ are being carried as passengers.
Ten years after smoking was banned in indoor public places in Italy, the country’s Health Minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, said further restrictions on smokers were being explored.
“Restrictions will be narrowed further,” Lorenzin was quoted as saying.
“We’ll begin with films and cars with children on board, and then we’ll assess eventual new measures. It’s a subject to be explored, and will eventually lead to a debate.”
On January 10 2005, Italy became the third country in Europe after Ireland and Norway to bring in a smoking ban in indoor public places including bars, cafés and nightclubs.
Since the so-called Sirchia Law was introduced, the number of smokers in Italy has fallen from 23.8 percent to 19.5 percent, according to figures from Istat, the national statistics agency, though this is not to say that the smoking ban was the cause of or even part of the cause of the fall.
Italy recently banned smoking in outdoor spaces at schools while the minimum age to buy cigarettes was raised to 18.
Bommidala Enterprises picked up two export awards at the Tobacco Board of India’s Formation Day on Friday
It was judged to be India’s biggest exporter of cut tobacco in 2014 and its third biggest exporter of cigarettes. This was the eighth consecutive year in which the company had won these awards.
Bommidala Enterprises is part of the Guntur-based BBM Bommidala Group, which has interests in unmanufactured tobacco, cut rag, cigarettes and duty-free goods.
Also during the formation day celebrations, 30 tobacco growers from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were presented with best grower awards for achieving the highest yielding and best quality flue-cured crops of the 2013-14 season.
And awards were presented also to tobacco traders, packers and buyers, and to five auction platforms for outstanding performances.