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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/.

Volunteering to stem a tide of garbage

| May 8, 2014
Some of the volunteers from the Cavite factory.

Some of the volunteers from the Cavite factory

Imperial Tobacco employees in the Philippines are improving their local environment by helping to maintain a river estuary near the company’s Cavite factory.

The Philippine Bobbin Corp. (PBC) has joined with other local businesses in an environmental protection scheme by adopting the Maalimango River.

To mark World Water Day, more than 60 employees from the factory volunteered to take part in a weekend cleanup operation to remove rubbish from the waterway.

“I was delighted that we had almost twice the number of volunteers taking part this time compared to a similar initiative last year,” said factory manager Carlos Saez-Diez Reberdito.

“This river is important in the rainy season to help drain floodwaters from the surrounding area, but it cannot do its job properly if it is clogged up with garbage.

“By volunteering to help clean up and maintain the Maalimango, PBC employees have once again demonstrated our values as a responsible business.”

Imperial’s total tobacco volume down 8 percent during first half

| May 7, 2014

Imperial Tobacco’s total tobacco volume during the six months to the end of March, at 140 billion stick equivalents, was down by 8 percent on that of the six months to the end of March 2013.

Stick equivalent volume is said to include cigarette, fine-cut tobacco, cigar and snus volumes.

Growth Brand volume was down by 3 percent, from 62 billion to 60 billion.

But Imperial said that its 10 growth brands (Davidoff, Gauloises Blondes, JPS, West, Fine, News, USA Gold, Bastos, Lambert & Butler and Parker & Simpson) continued to outperform the market, with underlying volumes up 4 percent and underlying net revenues up 6 percent.

“These results reflect the quality of growth we’re targeting and were achieved against a backdrop of market declines of 4 percent,” Imperial said in announcing its results.

“Our growth brand performance in growth markets was particularly strong, with underlying volumes increasing 11 percent.

“The investments we’re making to support the development of these brands are focused on initiatives that will build our presence in profitable high growth segments.”

Imperial’s tobacco net revenue during the six months to the end of March, at £3,134 million, was down by 5 percent on that of the six months to the end of March 2013, £3,284 million, though, at constant currency, the fall was said to have been 2 percent.

Tobacco adjusted operating profit fell 5 percent (down 2 percent at constant currency) to £1,296 million, while logistics adjusted operating profit fell by 1 percent (down 1 percent at constant currency) to £73 million, and total adjusted operating profit fell by 4 percent (down 1 percent at constant currency) to £1,367 million.

Adjusted earnings per share fell by 1 percent (up by 3 percent at constant currency) to 89.6 p, while the interim dividend per share was up by 10 percent to 38.8 p.

“We continue to drive our strategy to build the quality and sustainability of the business,” said CEO Alison Cooper.

“Our stock optimization program has inevitably impacted some of our numbers, but I’m pleased with our underlying performance.

“Our growth brands again outperformed the market, with underlying volumes up 4 percent. Actively managing our cost base is releasing funds to invest in these brands and their development is being further supported by the stock optimisation program.

“Our second half priority is to build on our growth momentum with a particular focus on strengthening our market shares, which are on an improving trend across many territories. Conditions are still tough in some markets, but we continue to demonstrate our resilience and remain on course to deliver our full-year targets.”

Campaign promoting China smoking ban

| May 7, 2014

A monthlong publicity campaign is being run in China aimed at promoting a nationwide ban on smoking in public places, according to a story in the South China Morning Post quoting the Xinhua news agency.

A spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, Mao Qunan, told a launch ceremony in Beijing on Monday that the campaign was aimed also at raising public awareness of the health risks of tobacco use.

China has pledged to ban smoking in public areas, including restaurants, hotels, bars, cinemas and public transport, as part of its obligations under the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. China ratified the convention in 2005 but has failed to enforce all its anti-smoking measures.

“China still faces an uphill battle to honour its commitment on smoking control,” said Mao. “The popularity of tobacco use is partly due to the lack of understanding of smoking-induced diseases and the harm of being exposed to secondary smoke.”

Health authorities said in January they aimed to roll out a nationwide smoking ban in public places by the end of this year.

And the central government issued an order in December telling Communist Party officials to “lead by example” and stop smoking in areas such as government offices, schools, hospitals and sports and cultural venues.

E-cigarette cartridges to be made in U.S.

| May 7, 2014

White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes says that it is taking a major step toward moving its operations to the U.S. by basing production of its e-cigarette cartridges entirely in the U.S. from May 15.

The company described the move as “unorthodox” within the e-cigarette industry, which largely relies on China-based manufacturing.

“White Cloud already makes its e-liquid in the U.S. but wanted to move to U.S.-based cartridge manufacturing, as well,” the company said in a press note issued through PRNewswire.

“This was made possible by the development of the company’s new proprietary cartridge design, which allows for automated production rather than more traditional hand-filling techniques typically used by companies in China.”

“We take a lot of pride in the quality of our USA-made cartridges and e-liquid,” said Matthew Steingraber, a co-founder of White Cloud.

“By moving our cartridge filling to the U.S., we’re able to better ensure every one of our cartridges meets our standards for flavor, vapor and longevity.”

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