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E-cigarette Holding continues strong growth

| December 12, 2014

Electronic Cigarettes Holding (ECH) reported promising results for the first half of 2014. The company plans to expand its business to 25 countries within the next three months.

ECH currently has online shops in 18 European countries. Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) for the first half-year of 2014 already surpassed those of last year, indicating that the company will close the financial year on a high note. In 2015, ECH expects to see a continued increase in sales across its portfolio of e-cigarette products and anticipates its EBIT to triple, to CHF15 million by the end of next year.

“We have a very attractive business model with the highest profit margin and EBIT in the global industry,” said ECH CEO Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen.  “As such we have second-to-none organic growth financed entirely by our own profit. This is quite unique.”

OLAF dismantles illegal cigarette network

| December 12, 2014

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and  law enforcement authorities in Italy and Germany have dismantled an international cigarette contraband network that was manufacturing “made in Italy” cigarettes destined in part for the illegal market in the European Union (EU).

More than 10 individuals were arrested in an ongoing investigation. The network produced cigarettes in the EU and simulated exports or carried out real exports to third countries. Then it smuggled the cigarettes back into the EU to avoid applicable taxes. The illegal trade cost  Italy alone more than €90 million ($110 million) in lost tax revenue.

Long-running $20 billion Canadian class action ends

| December 12, 2014

A class-action lawsuit that targets three Canadian tobacco manufacturers for nearly $20 billion ended yesterday after almost three years of testimony, according to a Canadian Television story.

Judgement was reserved.

While the trial began in March 2012, the legal proceedings date back to 1998.

The plaintiffs include an estimated one million Quebecers who argued the companies are liable because they knew they were putting out a harmful product and hid the health effects of tobacco.

The suit involves separate groups of plaintiffs – some who became seriously ill from smoking and others who said they couldn’t quit.

The defendants are Imperial Tobacco Canada; Rothmans, Benson & Hedges; and JTI-Macdonald.

They argued that the negative health effects of tobacco had been common knowledge for decades and that there was no conspiracy to conceal anything.

The Canadian Television story is at:

A blog that has been running since the beginning of the trial, Eye on the Trials, can be accessed here:

JTI Lilongwe warehouse opened by Malawi President

| December 12, 2014

Malawi’s President, Professor Peter Mutharika, yesterday opened a new Japan Tobacco International warehouse at its site in Lilongwe, where the company has also carried out substantial upgrades to its tobacco processing line, according to a story in the Nyasa Times.

The investments are said to have been worth more than K5 billion.

“This is a great day, not only for JTI, but for the tobacco industry and indeed for Malawi since this investment offers hope to us all that tobacco will still be grown in this country for several years to come,” the President said at the opening ceremony.

Mutharika went on to say that the government of Malawi was committed to passing a new law that would support the sustainable production and sale of tobacco, and thereby protect the livelihoods of the country’s smallholder growers.

JTI’s senior vice president, Paul Neumann, said JTI would continue working towards harnessing Malawi’s potential as a leading producer of Burley, and the company’s head of business in Malawi, Fries Vanneste, said that JTI’s approach would improve the profitability of growers and the stability of the Malawian tobacco market.

“We provide support not only to individual growers, but also invest in entire communities to improve access to water, healthcare, and better education,” Vanneste said.

JTI Malawi employs more than 1,300 people and works directly with more than 11,000 growers.

Bangladesh media supports growers’ demands

| December 12, 2014

Tobacco growers in Bangladesh have urged the government to support them in producing alternative crops, according to a story in The Financial Express.

They also want the government to formulate and implement policies for thwarting tobacco cultivation.

The farmers were said to have made these ‘demands’ at a press conference entitled Voice of victims: Non-profitable tobacco farming, allurement to harmful profit held on Wednesday at the National Press Club.

The Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance was said to have taken the initiative to support the farmers in placing their demands.

The Express story quoted conference participants as saying the government had no policies in place to control tobacco growing and that tobacco companies were encouraging marginal and helpless farmers into growing tobacco.

But the farmers were said to prefer tobacco cultivation for the ‘temporary profit’ it offered.

JT’s domestic volume sales down in November

| December 12, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc’s domestic cigarette sales volume during November, at 8.7 billion, was down by 8.8 percent on that of November 2013, 9.5 billion, according to preliminary figures issued by the company today. The November 2013 figure was down by 0.9 percent on that of November 2012.

Volume during January-November, at 102.2 billion, was down by 3.7 percent on that of January-November 2013, 106.1 billion, which was down by 0.5 per cent on that of January-November 2012.

JT’s market share stood at 60.1 percent during November, at 60.4 percent during January-November and at 60.5 percent during January-December 2013.

JT’s domestic cigarette revenue during November, at ¥49.0 billion, was down by 5.8 percent from its November 2013 level, ¥52.0 billion.

Revenue during January-November, at ¥573.4 billion, was down by 1.6 percent on that of January-November 2013, ¥582.6 billion.

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