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November, 2008


General Tobacco launches RYO line

Mayodan - Recently, Vidal Suriel, Founder and President of General Tobacco (GT), announced the launch of the GT One and Bronco Roll-Your-Own tobacco lines.

“We are very pleased to present our new Roll-Your-Own products in Bronco and GT One flavors,” said J. Ronald Denman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for General Tobacco. “For years, the GT One and Bronco family of products have been favorites among the GT consumer, this is yet another way to show our appreciation for their loyalty.”

The GT RYO tobaccos will be available in Full Flavor, Lights, and Menthol formats, and are packaged in 6 oz. and 16 oz. re-sealable bags.

GT is one of the largest tobacco companies in the United States, and in 2000 began distributing its own cigarette brand, GT One. The company also distributes Bronco, Silver, Vaquero Little Cigars, 32 Degrees, and Champion.

Twenty-First Century Printers changes name
New Delhi - Twenty-First Century Printers Ltd., one of the largest folding carton manufacturers in India, has changed its name to TCPL Packaging Ltd., as of Sept. 10th of this year. “The change in name is basically to highlight their core activity in their company name, which is packaging,” the company said in a statement.

TCPL operates out of two locations: one at Silvassa, less than 200 km from Mumbai, and the other at Haridwar, 200 km from New Delhi.

Currently catering to Philip Morris and BAT associate companies in the area and looking to branch out to other cigarette manufacturers, “The company has the capability to undertake both long and short run jobs either by gravure or offset process.” As of March 2008, they produced more than 1800 mn packs for the tobacco industry.

Merck signs licensing agreement with Japan Tobacco
Tokyo - Merck & Co. and Japan Tobacco (JT) recently signed a worldwide licensing agreement to commercialize and develop an oral osteoanabolic agent, called JTT-305, that would be used for the treatment of osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones by reducing density.

Under this agreement, Merck would retain worldwide rights for development and commercialization for JTT-305, except in Japan. In a statement made by JT and Merck, the companies said “JT will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive additional cash payments upon achievement of certain milestones associated with the development and approval of a drug candidate covered by this agreement. JT will also be eligible to receive undisclosed royalties from sales of any drug candidates that receive marketing approval.”

JTT-305, currently in Phase I trials outside of Japan, is an “investigational oral calcium sensing receptor antagonist that is currently being evaluated by JT in Phase II clinical trials in Japan for its effect on increasing bone density.”

United Kingdom
Imperial to launch economy JPS cigarettes
London - In light of the recent economic turns, Imperial Tobacco will launch a new economy cigarette brand, JPS Silver.

The Trade Communications Manager at Imperial, Iain Watkins, said that more and more smokers are moving down through price sectors of cigarettes, towards the economy sector. “Imperial Tobacco constantly monitors the market and a lengthy research process has told us the market is now ready for the new JPS Silver range.”

All of the packs in the new range will have the silver JPS insignia on the pack, will retail at £4.21 for one 20-pack of Kingsize and £4.25 for one 20-pack of Superkings, and will be available in types including JPS King Size Blue, JPS King Size Silver, JPS King Size Menthol, JPS Superkings Blue, and JPS Superkings Menthol, with all packs in both price-marked and standard packs.

According to Rachel Smith, UK Brand Manager for Imperial, the economy sector of cigarettes (defined as packs of 20 priced at £4.60 and below) has been growing since 2006. She expects the economy sector to have a 12.5% share of the market by the end of 2008.

“This accelerated growth is a result of the recent economic downturn. Rises in fuel and food costs have encouraged adult smokers to down trade whilst continuing to prefer quality and value,” Smith said, “This is evident across the majority of trade channels from multiples to independent convenience stores.”

Imperial expects this new range of cigarettes to take 2.5% of the UK cigarette market within approximately the next three months.

United States
Altria’s acquisition of UST passes US regulatory review
Richmond - Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) and UST Inc. have announced that the Federal Trade Comission granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, effectively saying that no further regulatory review was needed in connection with the acquisition of UST for $69.50 per share.

Completion of the acquisition still needs UST shareholder approval, and UST is in the process of arranging a special shareholder meeting during December.

If all conditions, shareholder and otherwise, are approved, the transaction is expected to close in early January 2009.

Davidoff acquires Camacho Cigars
Washington, DC - One of the oldest cigar makers of Miami, Camacho Cigars, has announced that it has been acquired by the Oettinger Davidoff Group of Switzerland.

The President and Chief Executive of Davidoff, Reto Cina, said that he would not change any aspect of Camacho’s business operations.

Christian Eiroa will remain the President of Caribe Imported Cigars (which does business as Camacho and handles sales, distribution, and marketing).

Julio, Chiristian Eiroa’s father said that other suitors for the Camacho business didn’t care as much about family business values, when compared to Davidoff.

All of Camacho’s 561 employees will be kept, and the only major executive change will be that of Julio stepping down as President of AgroIndustrias, to focus on leaf growing during his retirement.

According to Eiroa, the acquisition “offers us a platform so we can grow a lot more aggressively.’’

In addition, Davidoff has the option to expand its plant in Honduras, were the operations in the Dominican Republic to be hindered via natural disasters.

Caribe Imported Cigars, the distributor of Camacho in the United States, has 10 brands: Camacho, Baccarat “The Game,’’ La Fontana, Legend-Ario, National Brand, Repeater, Deluxe, Don Macho, Don Felo, and Nude Bundles.

Tobacco International - November, 2008
U.S. Tobacco Cooperative

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