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Ian Paisley against plain packing for cigarettes

Democratic Unionist Party MP Ian Paisley jnr lobbied the Government against its plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes, claiming it would make it easier for tobacco smugglers on both sides of the Border. The letters were sent in March and are the latest in a series of correspondence received by the Government expressing opposition to Minister for Health James Reilly’s proposals.

The Bill on plain packaging is expected to go to Cabinet in the coming weeks, and Government sources said it is being strengthened in the Attorney General’s office in anticipation of challenges in the Supreme Court, the European Court of Justice and at the World Trade Organisation. Others to have lobbied on the issue include United States congressmen and governors, as well as some of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, such as Philip Morris Ltd, the British arm of Philip Morris International, which is responsible for brands such as Marlboro.

Mr Paisley has campaigned against plain packaging in the UK, and initiated an open letter signed by 52 MPs two years ago which said “there is no reliable evidence that plain packaging will have any public health benefit”.

Plain packaging
Earlier this year, he also delivered a letter signed by 73 MPs to the British health secretary expressing opposition to plain packaging.

Japan Tobacco International, the maker of Glamour and LD cigarettes, is based in Ballymena in Mr Paisley’s constituency, and he says it employs 1,000 people and “makes a significant contribution to the local economy”.

The letters sent to Irish Ministers and civil servants include his House of Commons and constituency addresses and Mr Paisley warns of the “many negative consequences to plain packaging that need to be taken into consideration” before plain packaging is introduced, even though he “supports the Government’s objectives to reduce and prevent youth smoking”.

Mr Paisley sent the letters to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, as well as Martin Fraser, the secretary general of Department of the Taoiseach and David Cooney, the secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Dr Reilly has said he intends on making the Republic “tobacco free by 2025” and claimed “no amount of lobbying will divert us from our goal”.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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Japan Tobacco Forecast Record Net as Sales Rise

Japan Tobacco Inc. (2914), the world’s best-performing cigarette maker this year, raised its projected annual dividend by 35 percent after forecasting record profit on increasing overseas sales and a weaker yen. The shares climbed to a record.

Net income will probably be 415 billion yen ($4.2 billion) for the year ending March 2014, company said in a statement yesterday. The company jumped 2.7 percent to 3,595 yen, headed for a record close, as of 1:14 p.m. in Tokyo trading.

Japan Tobacco, which said it aims to make its Mevius the No. 1 global premium brand, is benefiting as a weaker yen boosts the value of overseas revenue, which accounted for about 48 percent of the company’s total in the last fiscal year. Asia’s biggest listed cigarette maker also said it would raise its payout ratio to 50 percent by fiscal 2015, one year earlier than previously planned, to support shareholders.

“We increased share in almost all major overseas market in the January to March period,” President Mitsuomi Koizumi told reporters yesterday in Tokyo. “We also expect to increase domestic share for the Mevius brand.”

The company’s annual profit forecast is higher than the 412 billion yen average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

A weaker Japanese currency will probably add about 70 billion yen to Japan Tobacco’s operating profit this year, Koizumi said yesterday. The yen has declined about 20 percent against the dollar in the past six months on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s vow to boost monetary and economic stimulus.

Dividend Increase

The company said it expects to pay dividends of 92 yen a share this fiscal year, compared with 68 yen in the previous 12 months. The maker of Winston cigarettes has gained 43 percent this year in Tokyo trading, the best performance among the 16 members of the Bloomberg GL Tobacco PB Index.

Net income fell 10 percent to 79.9 billion yen in the three months ended March in the absence of a one-time benefit a year earlier, the company said yesterday. Sales rose 5 percent to 511.8 billion yen in the period.

Japan’s government, which had owned 50 percent of the company, cut its stake to 33 percent in March to raise funds for reconstruction from the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The cigarette maker bought back some of the stock and yesterday said it would not cancel the treasury shares.

Japan Tobacco also said its board opposed all four proposals made by The Children’s Investment Master Fund, which called for an increase in dividends and share buybacks.

Shareholder Return

“The significantly high amount of the proposed return far exceeds the amount of cash flow generated by the business and would require the company to make additional financial borrowing from a third party,” the company said in a statement yesterday.

The Children’s Fund has said the cigarette maker should match the higher payout levels made by global rivals. The fund made similar proposals last year that were also rejected.

Sales will probably jump about 12 percent this fiscal year to 2.37 trillion yen, according to the statement. The sales growth would be the fastest since 2008.

Cigarette sales in Russia and Turkey rose last year, driving up overseas sales 5.4 percent, the company said earlier this year. Domestic revenue jumped 7.2 percent in the year ended March as the company regained its market share, the company said April 12.

Japan Tobacco changed its top brand’s name Mild Seven to Mevius in February and reiterated yesterday that it expects it to become the world’s best-selling premium brand, without giving a timeframe.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Tobacco Articles

 

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JT’s domestic cigarette market share over 60 per cent in December

Japan Tobacco Inc’s domestic cigarette sales volume during December, at 10.3 billion, was down by 4.5 per cent on its December 2011 volume, 10.8 billion, which itself was increased by 10.4 per cent on that of December 2010, according to preliminary figures issued by the company today.

Volume during the nine months, April-December, at 89.4 billion, was up by 10.5 per cent on its April-December 2011 volume, 80.9 billion, which was down by 24.3 per cent on that of April-December 2010.

JT’s market share stood at 60.1 per cent in December, at 59.6 per cent during April-December 2012, and at 54.9 for the full year to the end of March 2012.

JT has suffered huge volume swings in recent times because of an unprecedented, mainly tax-driven price hike on October 1, 2010, and the massive disruption caused to the company’s manufacturing and distribution operations following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11 2011.

JT’s domestic cigarette revenue during December, at ¥56.6 billion, was down by 4.6 per cent on its December 2011 revenue, ¥59.3 billion, which was up by 9.8 per cent on that of December 2010.

Revenue during April-December, at ¥492.0 billion, was up by 10.6 per cent on its revenue during April-December 2011, ¥444.7 billion, which was down by 4.0 per cent on that of April-December 2010.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Tobacco News

 

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Japan Tobacco Gains After Profit Forecast

Japan Tobacco Inc., the world’s second-largest listed cigarette maker, climbed the most in four months in Tokyo trading after raising its profit forecast and planned dividend.

Japan Tobacco
Japan Tobacco International

Japan Tobacco gained 5.5 percent, the biggest advance since Sept. 20, to 406,500 yen at the close of trade in Tokyo.

A faster-than-expected sales recovery after the March 11 earthquake prompted the company to raise its full-year net income forecast by 17 percent to 189 billion yen ($2.5 billion), following a 34 percent gain in nine-month profit. Tokyo-based Japan Tobacco will also boost its annual dividend payout to a record, it said yesterday.

“Their results and dividends are good and their payout will improve, so I think this is a winner,” Mikihiko Yamato, an analyst at JI Asia in Tokyo, said by telephone. “There is a growing expectation that the company will increase dividends further next quarter.”

Japan Tobacco introduced seven redesigned Pianissimo thin cigarettes and two Mild Seven slim types last month, to help meet its goal to boost market share to 60 percent by March from 59 percent in December, it said in a statement.

Increased Sales

Sales for the year ending March 31 will probably climb to 2.54 trillion yen, compared with a previous estimate of 2.497 trillion yen. Operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and operating expenses, will rise to 365 billion yen, more than the earlier projected 329 billion yen, it said.

The tobacco company raised its planned second-half dividend to 5,000 yen a share. That will boost the full-year payout to 9,000 yen, from an earlier planned 8,000 yen, narrowing the gap with rivals including Philip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco Plc.

Japan Tobacco currently has the lowest 12-month dividend yield among the world’s five largest cigarette makers, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. The Children’s Investment Fund Management, a shareholder, has called for a dividend payout of 20,000 yen a share.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Tobacco Articles

 

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Japan Tobacco Introduces ‘The Peace’ Luxury Canned Cigarettes

Smokers seeking a more luxurious and relaxing smoking experience need look no further than “The Peace”, an all-new, top of the line canned cigarette from Japan Tobacco. Sold by a selected number of Japanese retailers at a premium price and packaged in sleek metal cans, The Peace is the ultimate expression of an iconic cigarette brand first introduced in 1946.

Times were tough in post-war Japan, as were smokers and the cigarettes they smoked. One of the latter was “Peace” from Japan Tobacco, a cigarette boasting almost three times the tar and more than twice the nicotine as JT’s current smokes. Over the past 66 years, the Peace brand has built on its early acceptance by war-weary smokers to become one of the country’s most popular cigarettes.

Faced with mounting restrictions on smoking in Japan and a steadily shrinking customer base, Japan Tobacco is reaching out to deep-pocketed smokers with “The Peace”: the ultimate expression of the iconic Peace brand. The main selling points of The Peace are “the ultimate experience of aroma” along with a unique metal can exemplifying the timeless look and feel of luxury.

JT raises the aroma bar by taking a page from the master tea makers’ handbook: top quality ingredients enhanced by meticulous preparation. Only 100 percent select Virginia tobacco goes into The Peace, and its mellow, rich aroma is the result of skillful blending by tobacco experts. JT then employs (for the first time in Japan) “new trimming” – a process via which flash heats the fine cut tobacco to banish any unpleasant notes.

Last and certainly not least, each package of 20 cigarettes comes in a flat steel can painted Navy Blue with gold text. The brand’s classic “dove grasping an olive branch” logo, created by noted Franco-American industrial designer Raymond Loewy, is prominently displayed along with a small “The” prefacing the brand name.

The Peace goes on sale February 1st at any of 3,500 retail outlets priced at 1,000 yen (about $13), over twice the cost of Peace Infinity, the brand’s former premium iteration.

If that sounds a bit rich, Japan Tobacco likes it that way… according to a company spokesman, “We are responding to the needs of consumers who are not concerned with prices when it comes to high-quality products.” Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Tobacco News

 

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The Peace to offer ultimate aroma

Japan Tobacco Inc. will next month launch The Peace, a cigarette that the company is describing as ‘the masterpiece in the history of the Peace brand’.

The Peace brand

The Peace brand of cigarettes

The Peace will sell at ¥1,000 for a pack of 20 against ¥440 for 20 in the case of Peace.

It will be available from early February across Japan but only through a limited number – about 3,500 – of retailers.

Peace, which was launched in 1946 in packs of 10, is said to have become immensely popular with consumers because of its aroma.

And now, The Peace is going to offer the ultimate experience in aroma.

The Peace was developed out of a desire to give consumers a more luxurious and relaxing smoking experience, JT said in a note posted on its website.

It is said to be a product for which nothing was spared to make it the best: ‘from the selection of ingredients to the blending, processing, flavors, and even the packaging’.

The Peace, which uses only flue-cured tobacco, is the first product in Japan to use a process called ‘new trimming’ whereby unpleasant aroma and taste are eliminated by flash heating the fine cut tobacco.

The new product is sold in metallic navy blue flat tins.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Tobacco Articles

 

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Popular cigarette brand undergoes makeover

Popular cigarette brand undergoes makeover

Japan Tobacco is to launch redesigned versions of seven of its popular Pianissimo brand of cigarettes in mid-January.

Pianissimo One

Two packs of Pianissimo One cigarettes

Pianissimo is the top-selling brand in Japan’s 100mm slim menthol category and has proven particularly popular among female smokers for what Japan’s largest tobacco company says is a “smooth, unassertive and refreshing menthol flavour and aroma.”

Smoking rates are declining in Japan, although they remain higher for both men and women than in Europe and North America.

The government raised the tax on tobacco products by 30 per cent in late 2010, which contributed to a decrease in the number of domestic smokers, while there have also been suggestions more recently that another tax hike will be required as the government seeks ways to pay for the reconstruction of parts of northeast Japan that were badly damaged in the natural disasters of last March.

As part of its campaign to win new customers — as well as retaining its existing consumers — Japan Tobacco revamped its Cabin collection in September to make it a “cigarette brand for sophisticated adults.”

Now it is the turn of seven Pianissimo products to be repackaged, while four will be given new names.

Pianissimo One is to be renamed Aria Menthol, “an operatic term signifying an airy melodic solo,” the company said, while the new white packaging and waterlines are meant to symbolise the “gentle, soft character of the product.”

The Pianissimo Super Slims Menthol One is to become the Precis Menthol, due to the concentrated menthol sensation, while the Icene Menthol brand will become the Icene Crista to emphasise the “chilling sensation of the menthol.”

The brand was first launched in Japan in 1995 and the latest addition to the range — the Pianissimo ViV Menthol — was in November 2011. A pack of 20 retails for Y440 (RM17.90).

Japan Tobacco is by far the dominant player in the domestic market and smokers will be waiting to see how other companies, particularly foreign firms such as British American Tobacco, respond.

Japan Tobacco’s products are sold in more than 120 countries and it controls Benson & Hedges as well as the Mayfair, Winston, Camel, Silk Cut and Glamour brands. At home, it has a two-thirds share of the domestic market and its flagship brands include Seven Stars, Peace, Caster, Hope and Mild Seven.

Japan Tobacco statistics indicate that 24.95 million Japanese smoke, out of an adult population of 104.4 million. A recent study by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare showed that the smoking rate among men has fallen to 36.8 per cent — the lowest level since such surveys were started in 1986 — while the figure for women came to 9.1 per cent, below the 10 per cent threshold for the first time since 2001.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Tobacco News

 

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