Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 3

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66 tobaccoasia CLOSING NEWS 卷尾新闻 Singapore Youth Attack Random Smokers The World No Tobacco Day is a day when smokers all around the world are encouraged to abstain from smoking, and it's a day when smokers everywhere ignore said encouragement. To "celebrate the occasion", some young Singaporeans decided to take matters into their own hands and enforce anti-tobacco rules in their own way. Some have gone out and pulled "pranks" on unsuspecting smokers around the Asian city-state. The "hilarious pranks", that most likely can be legally classified as assault, include such feats as splashing water into smokers' faces, pushing them into swimming pools and dumping ice water on unsuspecting passerby. Sweden Van Maren Leaves Arnold André After 15 years with German cigar manufacturer Arnold André, managing director Wiljo van Maren has left the company on his own wish. Van Maren was primarily responsible for sales, marketing, finance, and adminis- tration, leaving a considerable imprint on the 200-year-old family-owned firm. His main achievement was to successfully expand Arnold André's operations into the international arena, leading to improved brand recognition and increased sales worldwide. His decision to leave Arnold André was due to purely personal reasons. A successor has so far not been announced by the company. Iraq/Worldwide Imperial Blames ISIS Imperial Tobacco has released its half-year results and blamed political chaos under ISIS in Iraq for having an unexpected impact on sales of tobacco. The Bristol-based maker of Gauloises cigarettes, Golden Virginia tobacco and Rizla cigarette paper has said sales volumes are down 5% in the last half year, with 2% of that decline attributed to "the deteriorating political and security situation" in Iraq. Imperial saw overall global cigarette volumes decline 5% in the first half of the year to the end of March, but the company's most profitable brands – which include Davidoff and Gauloises Blondes – sold 12% more. Underlying profits, stripping out currency move- ments, increased by 5%. Imperial Tobacco also warned that a new levy on cigarette makers will be passed straight on to customers, if the Labour Party wins the general election, since Ed Miliband has pledged to hit tobacco companies with a windfall levy to pay for a guaranteed cancer test within seven days for every NHS patient. Tobacco companies argue that high levels of taxation in the UK are forcing people to buy blackmarket cigarettes, smuggled in by criminal gangs. They are also preparing a legal challenge to the coalition government's plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarette brands. Switzerland Continuing success for Oettinger Davidoff AG Oettinger Davidoff AG, the worldwide leading manufacturer of premium cigars, further consolidated its strong global market position in 2014. With market performance varying from region to region, the company secured above- average growth and thus increased its market shares. Despite the continued focus on core business, which prompted the company to sell its cigarette machine business in 2013, Oettinger Davidoff AG increased revenue by 1.7% in 2014 to CHF 1.23 billion (US$1.29 billion). This positive performance was driven by the Davidoff brand's strong growth, with global revenue increasing by 12%, as well as impressive growth in the US. Earnings developed above average, and cigar production went up once again to 44 million cigars, which is 13.1% higher than in the prior year and a new produc- tion record. This improved performance is also reflected by a 4.9% increase in staff numbers, mainly due to new hires in the Dominican Republic and Hondu- ras. The company created more than 170 new jobs in these producer countries. Despite the negative effect of freeing up the Swiss franc exchange rate, and despite the uncertain economic outlook in Europe, Oettinger Davidoff is cautiously optimistic about 2015, which is its 140th anniversary year. The company's consistent focus on its core business of producing and selling its own brands and those of other premium producers, as well as develop- ing its own innovative new products and relaunching selected existing ones, is paying off. c.e.o. Hans-Kristian Hoejs- gaard commented as follows on last year's performance: "We are very pleased with the results we've achieved and the high degree of consistency in Oettinger Davidoff's revenue, earnings and sales volumes." This performance is still based mainly on the core Davidoff brand, but some of the company's other interna- tionally distributed brands have also posted pleasingly strong growth rates. Last year's European launch of the Camacho cigar, which is already very successful in the USA, was a resounding success. Camacho is now Oettinger Davidoff's second most important brand. Growing demand for this cigar and other Honduran brand cigars in the mid-premium price segment has prompted the company to start planning a new, modern production building in Danlí (Honduras). It will replace an out-of-date plant and ensure that production, which has increased by 60% over the last three years, can continue to keep pace with rising demand. Thailand Youth Group Expands Mandate A youth group to prevent new drinkers has expanded its mandate and urged the government to pass tobacco legislation to stop new smokers. The youth group, as well as a group of university students, have met with deputy prime minister Yongyuth Yuthavong to show support for the government's efforts to prevent youth smoking. However, they said that the two- decade-old Tobacco Products Control Act is outdated and cannot adapt to new product developments that sidestep its regulations. The network has been observing product evolution in the tobacco industry and its impact on consumers. The deputy prime minister said the government places great importance on the welfare of children as the future of Thailand. He added that the law must first be deliberated by the National Legislative Assembly. He insisted that the government will do its best to enforce the law soon.

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