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Ethiopia mulls bid for tobacco monopoly

| May 8, 2014

Ethiopia’s Public Enterprises Board is due to decide by tomorrow whether to accept Sheba Investment’s request to buy an additional 48 percent share in the state-owned National Tobacco Enterprise (NTE), according to an Addis Fortune story.

The Yemeni-based Sheba already owns a 22 percent share in NTE, which it acquired in 1999.

Sheba’s request followed a declaration by the Privatisation & Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA) that it was interested in selling a further stake in National. That stake was reported to be 27 percent, a figure that has not been confirmed by PPESA on the grounds that it is confidential.

Sheba’s proposal has been referred to PPESA’s board, according to the agency’s head of public relations, Wondafrash Assefa.

However, PPESA is expected to turn down the proposal because the agency apparently feels that Sheba is not actively taking part in the business of the NTE.

A month ago, a story in The Reporter had it that NTE was expected to be sold, either to Sheba, or, failing that, through some other form of sale.

Zambian growers unhappy with prices

| May 8, 2014

Tobacco growers in the Kaoma and Nkeyema districts of Western Province, Zambia, are complaining about what they see as the low prices being offered and the buying methods being used by Alliance One Zambia (AOZ), according to a Times of Zambia story.

The growers said they had been spending nights at the company’s sheds hoping that the price, now ranging between ZMW1 and ZMW7.50 per kg, would be increased.

Two growers were quoted as saying that AOZ was undervaluing their tobacco and rejecting some of it on the grounds that it amounted to “excess” production.

Another said that the prices being offered could not cover even the costs of production.

Meanwhile, AOZ manager Hillary Chanda was quoted as saying that his company was buying only from its sponsored growers and that it was limiting the amount of tobacco being bought from each farmer to 1,000 kg per ha, though with an additional allowance of up to 20 percent based on the crop estimates of individual growers.

Nicotine forum program announced

| May 8, 2014

The first Global Forum on Nicotine, which is due to be held in Poland next month, will include four plenary sessions and three parallel sessions, according to a press note issued by the organizers yesterday.

The forum, at the Marriott Hotel, Warsaw, June 27–28, is being organized by KAC, which stages public health and addictions conferences and runs the Nicotine Science and Policy website www.nicotinepolicy.net.

The plenary sessions are:

1. A fresh look at alternatives to smoking: the case for reduced-risk nicotine products;

2. An overview of the scientific evidence on nicotine: safety, health and addiction;

3. Engaging key stakeholders in the nicotine debate and new practices; and

4. Regulation of noncombustible nicotine products: national, regional and international issues.

The parallel sessions are:

1. Science, regulation and use of electronic cigarettes, which will be conducted in Polish;

2. Gaps in our knowledge of nicotine and its use—toward a new research agenda; and

3. Regulatory landscapes: how can regulation benefit consumers and help them shift from harmful to safer products?

The forum’s website is at http://gfn.net.co/ and registration is available at http://gfn.net.co/registration.

Altria to webcast shareholder meeting

| May 8, 2014

The Altria Group is due to host a live audio webcast of its 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders from 9 a.m. Eastern Time on May 14. The webcast will be in listen-only mode.

Pre-event registration is necessary and directions are posted at www.altria.com.

An archived copy of the webcast will be available at the same site.

PMI holds annual shareholder meeting

| May 8, 2014

At Philip Morris International’s 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders yesterday, the chairman of the board, Louis C. Camilleri, addressed shareholders and answered questions, while CEO André Calantzopoulos gave the business presentation, including updates on the dynamics in key markets and on the principal drivers for growth in 2014 and beyond.

An archived copy of the audio webcast of the meeting is being made available until 5 p.m. Eastern Time on June 5 at www.pmi.com/webcasts.

Swedish Match declares dividend

| May 8, 2014

Swedish Match held its 2014 annual general meeting yesterday when it was resolved, in accordance with a proposal from the board of directors, to pay a dividend of SEK7.30 per share.

The day of record for the right to receive a cash dividend is May 12.

Payment through Euroclear Sweden is expected to be made on May 15, 2014.

Other details about the meeting are at http://www.swedishmatch.com/en/Media/Pressreleases/Press-releases/2014/Swedish-Match-Annual-General-Meeting-2014/.

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