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Feb 27, 2015

Italian e-cigarette firms say new tax benefits tobacco

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Electronic cigarette firms in
Italy say a new levy that doubles the price of e-liquid refills
unfairly helps tobacco giants like Philip Morris International
and will hurt their industry.

The tax, which was adopted in January, is set at half the
rate of that on traditional cigarettes. The controversy centres
on the fact that the lower rate is applied to both electronic
cigarettes and to tobacco products such as Marlboro HeatSticks,
which Philip Morris is launching in Italy alongside a 500
million euro ($568 million) factory investment.

Feb 26, 2015

British American Tobacco sales fall less than expected

LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) – British American Tobacco
, the world’s second-biggest tobacco company, reported
slightly better than expected sales for 2014, gaining share in a
market shrinking as more smokers stub out the habit.

The company, with operations in over 200 countries, was hit
hard by the strong British pound and said that impact would
continue this year, especially as some currency hedges expire.

Feb 25, 2015

Health-conscious Chinese challenge Western food firms

LONDON/SHANGHAI, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Chen Chen, a 27-year-old
financial analyst in Shanghai, has cut back on bottled milky tea
in favour of fresh-squeezed juices. Like more and more of her
compatriots, she wants to consume more natural ingredients and
less fat and salt.

“Health is a key factor,” she said.

Chinese consumers like Chen are making new demands of
international food brands, posing challenges for Western firms
already grappling with slower sales and intense competition in
the world’s most populous nation.

Feb 23, 2015

British American Tobacco mulls $3.5 bln buyout of Brazil unit stake

LONDON/SAO PAULO, Feb 23 (Reuters) – British American
Tobacco Plc is considering a buyout of the 24.7 percent
stake it does not already own in Souza Cruz SA,
Brazil’s largest cigarette company, in a deal that could cost
about 2.3 billion pounds ($3.53 billion).

In a statement on Monday, London-based BAT said it was
looking to pay 26.75 reais in cash for each share of Souza Cruz.
That is 13 percent above Souza Cruz’s closing price on Friday
and represents a 30 percent premium to its volume-weighted
average closing price over the last three months.

Feb 19, 2015

Nestle forecasts improvement in 2015

VEVEY, Switzerland, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Nestle, the
world’s largest packaged foods maker, forecast sales to rise 5
percent this year, in line with its long-term goals, following a
weaker year in 2014 that was hurt by deflation in Europe and
slowing demand in Asia.

The Switzerland-based maker of Nescafe coffee and KitKat
chocolate said on Thursday that 2014 organic sales, which
excludes currency swings and acquisitions, rose 4.5 percent.
Analysts on average had expected 4.5 percent, a Reuters poll
found, after Nestle signaled in October it was likely to fall
short of its 5 percent goal.

Feb 16, 2015

All eyes on chocolate maker Ferrero’s next generation

LONDON/MILAN (Reuters) – The death of Italian billionaire Michele Ferrero could ultimately herald a deal involving the chocolate empire bearing his name, with the family’s third generation leading it into a future of increasingly hungry multinationals.

The maker of Nutella spread and Ferrero Rocher chocolates has long been viewed as an appetising target for rivals such as Mondelez International, Nestle, Mars and Hershey. But given the strength of its brands, the high margins on chocolate and sluggishness of packaged food overall, the Italian business could feasibly be on the shopping list of any global food company.

Feb 12, 2015

Imperial Tobacco stands by full-year dividend goal

LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Imperial Tobacco Group
reported a 4 percent decline in underlying tobacco volumes for
its fiscal first quarter, in line with its broader markets, and
stood by its outlook for the year.

The maker of Davidoff and Gauloises cigarettes on Thursday
said underlying tobacco revenue fell 1 percent in the quarter,
ended on Dec 31. It blamed the timing of price increases,
reduced trading in Iraq and lower sales of mass-market cigars in
the United States ahead of a brand relaunch.

Feb 4, 2015

Imperial Tobacco widens e-cigarette strategy with new brand

LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Imperial Tobacco Group Plc
is launching a new e-cigarette in France next week, giving the
big tobacco firm a lifestyle brand in addition to its existing
brand Puritane, marketed more as a healthcare product.

The new brand called Jai will be sold in tobacconist shops,
while Puritane is sold online and exclusively behind the counter
at Britain’s Boots pharmacy chain, which is owned by Walgreens
Boots Alliance Inc.

Jan 27, 2015

Rocker PJ Harvey hopes glass room will reflect history

LONDON (Reuters) – Art rocker PJ Harvey hopes that recording inside a glassed room at Somerset House in central London will help draw on the likes of Elizabeth I, who lived on its grounds before she was queen, and Oliver Cromwell, who lay in state there.

    A select group of visitors lucky enough to get tickets will watch Harvey, one of England’s most original pop artists, chipping away at the coal face of music creation.

Jan 26, 2015

Big brands face struggle to contain own label advance in Europe

BERLIN/LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – An expensive fightback by
top consumer goods brands is likely to provide only temporary
relief as retailers improve the quality of their own products to
attract thrifty European shoppers.

Sales from supermarkets’ own label ranges have surged in
recent years. Cash-strapped shoppers seeking cheaper
alternatives to branded favourites have also flocked to discount
chains that keep prices low by stocking few top names.