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Reynolds declares quarterly dividend

| February 6, 2015

Reynolds American Inc.’s board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend on the company’s common stock of $0.67 per share ($2.68 per share annualized).

The dividend is payable on April 1 to shareholders of record as of March 10.

Reynolds reported that this was the 43rd consecutive quarterly cash dividend that it had declared since it became a public company on July 30, 2004.

‘RAI’s policy is to return about 80 percent of the company’s current-year net income to shareholders in the form of dividends,’ the company said in a note posted on its website.

Virginia votes to keep kids toiling in tobacco fields

| February 5, 2015

The US’ National Consumers League (NCL) has said it is deeply disappointed by the defeat of a Virginia State Legislature bill that would have been the first of its kind to protect children from working in tobacco fields.

“This takes us back a century ago when children in America were working in mines, factories, and mills,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the NCL and co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), which NCL co-founded 25 years ago. “The reactionary forces fought protections for kids back then, just as they are doing today. It’s just as intolerable to expose kids to these toxics today as it was in 1915.”

The bill (HB 1906), introduced last month by Alfonso Lopez, a Democratic Party member of Virginia’s House of Delegates, was defeated on Tuesday in the Republican-controlled Committee on Commerce and Labor.

The NCL said HB 1906 would have prohibited farmers from hiring anyone under 18, with the exception of family members, to work in direct contact with tobacco leaves. It would have overridden some of the outdated Fair Labor Standards Act provisions that allowed children as young as 12 to work unlimited hours while performing dangerous work on farms.

Recent reports of children being sickened by acute nicotine poisoning in tobacco fields – battling nausea, headaches, vomiting, and dizziness – had sparked a national movement to ban this practice, the NCL added.

“It is our obligation to protect our most vulnerable workers, said Reid Maki, who is a member of NCL and the director of social responsibility and co-ordinator of fair labor standards at the CLC. “It is very disappointing to see Virginia lawmakers cave to big tobacco interests and defeat this common-sense child labor protection. We will continue to ask lawmakers at both the federal and state levels to ban child labor in US tobacco fields.”

JT’s domestic and international volumes down

| February 5, 2015

Japan Tobacco Inc reported today that its domestic cigarette sales volume during the year to the end of December, at 112.4 billion, was down by 3.6 percent on that of the year to the end of December 2013, 116.5 billion.

JT said that its volume had been affected by a decline in overall industry volumes, which fell by 3.4 percent.

Its market share in 2014 was 60.4 percent, down from 60.5 percent in 2013.

Core revenue for the domestic tobacco business fell by 1.0 per cent to ¥649.8 billion but adjusted operating profit was increased by 1.8 percent to ¥238.7 billion.

Meanwhile, Japan Tobacco International’s total tobacco (including cigarettes, fine-cut, cigars, pipe tobacco and snus, but excluding water-pipe tobacco, emerging products and contract manufactured goods) shipments during the year to the end of December, at 398.0 billion, were down by 4.7 percent on those of the year to the end of December 2013, 417.5 billion.

Global flagship brand shipments were down, too, from 267.5 billion to 262.2 billion.

JT reported that JTI’s total shipment volume decline had been driven primarily by industry volume contraction in Russia, which could not be offset by growth in the Benelux markets, the Caucasus, Germany, Hungary, the markets of the Middle East and Turkey.

Year-on-year market share had increased in the key markets of France, Spain, Turkey and the UK. And in Russia, the share of market accounted for by GFBs had continued to grow, driven by Winston, which had reached a record 15 percent.

Core revenue increased by 4.8 percent to ¥1,258.2billion, while adjusted operating profit rose by 8.8 percent to ¥447.1 billion.

In presenting the results, Mitsuomi Koizumi, president and CEO of JT, said the company’s international tobacco business had delivered another set of impressive financial results and continued to be the profit growth engine of the JT Group. “This strong performance was driven by a combination of pricing gains, continued growth in GFB share of market and share of value, and effective cost management,” he said. “We continue to prioritize quality top line growth and invest in our brands as well as our product portfolio and geographic footprint.

“Domestically, after the April consumption tax hike, we increased investment in brand equity with a particular focus on Mevius and higher unit price products, which resulted in an increase of our share of value.

“As we make the transition to a more agile sales operation, we will strengthen our ability to anticipate and respond to the consumers’ needs in what has become an increasingly competitive environment.

“I believe the determined pursuit of the ’4S’ model standards will give us the ability to overcome any challenges that may lie ahead. Our highly motivated employees will create additional value for our consumers, leading to the sustainable profit growth and a competitive return to shareholders. Guided by these principles, we will continue to prioritize business investments, while aiming to exceed the expectations of all our stakeholders.”

New tobacco law being fast-tracked in Thailand

| February 5, 2015

Thailand’s Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin yesterday blamed the finance and agriculture ministries for delaying a new, stricter law aimed at controlling the consumption of tobacco and cigarettes, according to a story in The Nation.

Rajata said the two ministries had until next week to come up with their stance on the much-awaited bill or it would be forwarded to the cabinet for approval and implementation in four to six months.

He said the new law, which could be debated either when it was with the Council of State or being scrutinised by the National Legislative Assembly, would not affect Thai tobacco growers or violate international trade laws.

The Nation said the new law would forbid the sale of cigarettes to people under the age of 20, encourage smaller cigarette packs, ban advertising or marketing of tobacco via electronic or social media, and prohibit tobacco companies from participating in corporate social responsibility activities.

Altria to webcast conference presentation

| February 5, 2015

The Altria Group is due to host a webcast of its business presentation at the annual Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton, Florida, starting about 09.15 Eastern Time on February 18.

The webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, will feature a presentation by Marty Barrington, chairman and CEO, and other members of Altria’s senior management team.

Pre-event registration is necessary and available at

An archived copy of the webcast will be available at the same site or through the Altria Investor App, which is free and available for download at or through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Salvoy Acetow introduces Rhondia Micro Tow

| February 4, 2015

Solvay Acetow has introduced a new product—Rhondia Micro Tow.

Rhondia Micro Tow offers a top-quality and highly customized tow specification, and extends the range of low-denier tow items.

The new specification provides low pressure drop and guaranteed filtration efficiency while delivering a high standard of quality. Rhodia is also suitable for low diameter filters with capsules or additives.

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