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RAI to host investor presentation

| November 4, 2014

The management of Reynolds American and its operating companies will discuss the companies’ performances and plans during presentations to the investment community on November 17.

The presentations will be webcast on a listen-only basis at from about 09.00 Eastern Time.

Registration is currently available at – under Events & Presentations of the Investors section of the RAI website,

Video: Alison Cooper comments on Imperial’s 2014 results

| November 4, 2014

Imperial Tobacco full-year 2014 results interview with CEO Alison Cooper & CFO Oliver Tant. This video was published by MerchantCantos.

PMI granted right to challenge Products Directive through EU Court of Justice

| November 3, 2014

Subsidiaries of Philip Morris International today obtained a green light from an English Court to challenge the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), according to a note posted on PMI’s website. Key questions regarding the Directive’s validity will be referred to the CJEU as ordered by Mr. Justice Turner during a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice.

“This marks an important first step for our challenge of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive,” said Marc Firestone, PMI’s senior vice president and general counsel.

“We believe the directive disrupts the balance that the EU treaties establish between the Union and the member states, and we are looking forward to a thorough, objective review by the EU’s highest court.

“There is no disagreement that tobacco products should be strictly regulated, but measures must honor the EU treaties. The Directive purports to improve the internal tobacco market, yet instead includes a mix of product bans, mandates, and delegations of authority that raise serious questions under the EU treaties about consumer choice, the free movement of goods, and competition.”

PMI said it had requested the reference to the CJEU when it filed its case on June 27. The company is seeking a review of whether the directive complies with the EU Treaties in the following areas:

* ‘Legal Competence: The EU’s power to adopt the directive under the EU treaties is limited to measures that improve the internal market in tobacco products,’ the note said. ‘While the directive claims to serve that objective, it demonstrably lacks any real internal market rationale. For example, the directive claims to be harmonizing differences in member state laws by forcing member states to ban menthol, even though menthol is legal in all 28 member states. Meanwhile, it actively encourages disharmonization by inviting member states to adopt a patchwork of other measures such as “plain packaging” even though they obstruct the free movement of goods and violate EU law. Provisions such as these ignore clear precedent from the CJEU establishing the limits of the EU’s authority under the treaties, and create obvious incentives for illegal trade.

*’Fundamental Rights: The directive appears to ban truthful and non-misleading claims on the packaging of tobacco products. PMI intends to seek review of whether this ban respects the fundamental rights of consumers to information about the products they are choosing.

* ‘Delegated Acts: The directive delegates a number of powers to the Commission to enact rules on essential aspects of the directive. PMI intends to seek review of whether these delegations of power comply with the EU treaties.’

The CJEU is expected to issue a judgment within two years.


Nepal goes for 90 percent pack warnings

| November 3, 2014

The government of Nepal decided on Thursday to make it mandatory for tobacco companies to devote ‘at least 90 percent’ of their packs to health warnings, according to a story in The Kathmandu Post.

It wasn’t clear from the report whether the warnings will have to cover 90 percent of the front, 90 percent of the front and back, or 90 percent of the whole pack.

At present, health warnings take up 75 percent of the front and back surfaces.

A group of tobacco companies challenged the May 2011 legislation that brought in the 75 percent warnings, but that challenge was quashed by the Supreme Court in December 2013.

The challenge was made on the grounds that 75 percent far exceeded the requirements in neighboring countries.

In opting for 90 percent, Nepal has once again moved ahead of countries such as India and Thailand, where the requirement is for warnings to cover 85 percent of packs.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, 70 percent of the new warnings will include pictures, while 20 percent will be taken up with statutory warnings in Nepali.

BAT: farmers ‘valued business partners’

| November 3, 2014

British American Tobacco has launched its latest Sustainability Focus Report, Supporting Farmers’ Livelihoods: The Opportunity, which highlights what it says is ‘the important role’ played by the 100,000 tobacco farmers who supply the company.

According to a note posted on its website, BAT says the report proposes a new approach to agricultural policy decision making that will help governments ensure farmers can ‘continue to thrive’.

“We have a long and proud history in agriculture, working directly with farmers around the world,” said chief executive, Nicandro Durante.

“Tobacco leaf is the most essential part of our product, so the farmers who grow it are absolutely crucial to the success of our business.”

In recent years there had been considerable debate about the social, environmental and economic impact of tobacco growing, the note said. And governments were right to look at the impacts of growing tobacco or any other commercial crops.

The report proposes five new core principles which BAT believes can help guide governments’ approach to future policy decision making:

* ‘Evidence-based – driven by market dynamics and based on sound research and scientific evidence;

* ‘Holistic – adopts a broad approach, understands tobacco is part of a mixed agricultural system and acknowledges initiatives already underway to avoid duplication;

* ‘Respectful of livelihoods – prioritizes farmers and their communities, ensures farmers continue to be free to choose which crops they grow;

* ‘Inclusive – allows the whole tobacco growing supply chain to participate in decision making, is consultative and does not restrict the tobacco industry’s existing support for farming communities;

* ‘Locally relevant – considers local political, economic and environmental factors, gives precedence to local implications or priorities and finds practical, workable solutions.’

“The farmers we work with are valued business partners,” said Durante. “We want them to feel confident about their future and to be self-sufficient and prosperous…

“This is a pragmatic, commercial approach to securing our supply chain and ensuring the integrity and quality of our products to satisfy our consumers. I’m committed to a future where all our farmers have the resources they need to be successful and to ensuring farming communities can thrive.”

British American Tobacco buys more than 400,000 tonnes of tobacco each year from more than 100,000 contracted farmers and third party suppliers around the world.

Cigarettes still ITC’s profits milch-cow

| November 3, 2014

Despite being a conglomerate that runs luxury hotels and sells notebooks and clothing, as well as cigarettes, ITC’s bread and butter continues to be the tobacco business, according to a story by Kiran Kabtta Somvanshi for The Economic Times of India.

Its performance during the quarter to the end of September continued to display this trend as the bulk of its profits – as much as 85 percent – came from the company’s cigarette business, while its hotels and consumer goods businesses continued to bleed.

‘Though it posted a healthy 15 percent growth in revenues, its net profit rose a mere nine percent – the lowest quarterly growth in the past six years, the Times’ report said…

‘What should worry investors is the looming threat of regulatory clamps on the company’s cash cow. Since cigarettes are a major tax source for the government, it is unlikely [to] do anything that could threaten the very survival of the industry.

‘But faced with a vocal antismoking lobby, the government may increasingly make it difficult to market cigarettes – forcing ITC and others to find new ways to do business.’

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