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December, 2006

U.S. Tobacco Cooperative

Packaging Solutions from Marden Edwards

As the ever increasing complexity of health warnings drives the overall packaging costs upwards for cigarette producers, Marden Edwards offers several solutions that can help manufacturers comply with the regulations and save money without affecting the quality of the finished packaging.

There is a movement toward graphic health warnings being required on the 200s pack outers as well as on the individual cartons and for many printers, having to increase the number of colours adds to the complexity and cost of the job, resulting in a higher price per carton. For some packs 12 colour presses are now required, even though, in the case of the 200s pack outers, the production run might be quite short.

According to Marden Edwards, one way of saving money is to dispense with the outer carton on a pack of 200 and to collate and wrap the individual cartons in plastic film. The company, which has been producing collator/wrappers for many years, has recently noted a marked increase in the level of enquiries for this style of machine.

Fully opaque films are popular for this application at present and if a graphic outer is required then the film can be pre-printed and registered during the wrapping process. However, the option that provides maximum savings is the use of a clear, un-printed film. In this case the health warnings on he individual packs are clearly visible and a small black panel can be used to obscure the individual bar codes, with the multipack barcode being printed on-line as the collations are being produced.

For manufacturers that feel completely moving away from the outer carton is too revolutionary, Marden Edwards produces the KAP range of wrappers that are equally at home wrapping with paper or film. These machines can handle paper that requires on-line gluing as well as heat-sealable paper and printed or clear polypropylene. They can either be configured to collate the individual cigarette packs or to accept a cartoned pack of 200s and when running with the necessary conveyor and bypass systems in place, they offer almost total versatility while still maintaining full line speed.

Marden Edwards also offers an alternative to case packing in the form of the PSB1000 stretchbander, which collates and wraps distribution packs of up to 10,000 cigarettes. The stretchbander uses low-cost polyethylene film that is pulled tightly around the pack before end-sealing guns shrink the film to produce a fully enclosed end to prevent the ingress of dust or moisture. The cost of the film pack is a fraction of that of the corrugated case and once again suitable bypass systems can be built into the packaging line to divert collations to a stretchbander or case-packing machine to meet individual customerís requirements without slowing down production speeds.

Marden Edwards Limited, 2 Nimrod Way, Ferndown Industrial Estate, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 7SH UK

Antonic buys Banja Luka

Bosnian firm Antonic Trade has bought a 55% stake in Tobacco Factory Banja Luka (Fabrika Duvana Banja Luka), the only tobacco producer in the Republic of Srpska, the country's ethnic-Serb territory.

The state will receive BAM2.077 mn under the deal, which will see Antonic Trade invest BAM4.77 mn over a three-year period and employ 350 people. The company is expected to invest BAM2.4 mn and employ 315 people in the first year, BAM1.75 mn and 15 in the second, and BAM600,000 and 20 in the third.

At present, Tobacco Factory Banja Luka has 293 staff and produces 700 tons of cigarettes a year.

Antonic Trade also agreed to maintain the factory's core production activity for five years, to acknowledge the contract between the factory and the union and to assume BAM7.4 mn in debt.

Antonic Trade bought the stake in the second tender for the factory. It was the only company to bid, although firms including Marinkovi Komerc, Kompakt and Integral Inzenjering from Banja Luka, Invej of Zemun, Serbia, Tarvin Enterprise of Switzerland and Golden Club of Slovenia had shown interest.

Before buying the 55% stake, Antonic Trade had imported cigarettes from Croatian company Tobacco Factory Rovinj (Tvornica Duhana Rovinj).

Philip Morris to reopen plant

Tobacco giant Philip Morris USA Inc. will invest up to $100 million to reopen and expand in its York County, Va., plant, initially creating 75 jobs, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's office said.

The Richmond company closed the York Manufacturing Center in 2003. Production is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2007, and additional new jobs are anticipated as operations increase, the governor's office said.

Kaine approved $320,000 from the Governor's Opportunity Fund for the project. Philip Morris USA is an operating company of New York-based Altria Group Inc.

Tobacco International - December, 2006
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