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June 13th, 2011:

Meyercord Revenue, Inc., a SICPA Company, Unveils Next-Generation Excise Tax Solution to Aid Governments in Collecting Much-Needed Tobacco Excise Taxes

June 13th 2011

FUSON OASIS® system incorporates advanced anti-counterfeiting technologies, improved law enforcement tools and comprehensive support services

CAROL STREAM, Ill., June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Meyercord Revenue, Inc., a SICPA company, is introducing a new excise tax stamp solution to help curtail the counterfeiting of excise tax stamps and to enable state governments to more effectively collect owed tobacco excise taxes. The next-generation, heat-transfer FUSON OASIS® system includes new overt and covert security features that correspond to the highest available security industry standards for tobacco tax stamps protection and allow for quick and reliable authentication by law enforcement and the general public. The system was unveiled June 13, 2011 at the Federation of Tax Administrators’ annual meeting in Omaha, Neb.

“Advanced excise tax stamps are a cost-effective method to help governments collect the tobacco taxes due to states, counties and municipalities,” said Shelley Vereen, SICPA’s vice president of sales. “The stamps are also used as an investigative tool to help enforcement agencies prevent illicit trade and interstate smuggling efforts.”

Advances in digital technology and printing, however, have made it easier for criminals to counterfeit basic stamps and avoid paying taxes on tobacco products. In addition to costing necessary funding for capital expenditures and public services, the sale of black market cigarettes also finances organized crime and terrorist groups, according to government reports.

Excise tax stamps are used by government agencies to determine whether appropriate taxes have been paid on tobacco, alcohol or other luxury good products. Worldwide, SICPA provides solutions for over 45 billion excise tax-bearing products, helping governments collect more than $55 billion in excise taxes.

Advanced Security Features

The new heat-transfer FUSON OASIS® system improves upon the earlier-generation, heat-transfer FUSON® stamp, retaining those features of the stamp that remain effective today while addressing known vulnerabilities.  The original FUSON® stamp will be phased out over the next 12 months.

Advanced security features of the FUSON OASIS® include:

  • Proprietary color shifting ink, which enables consumers and retailers to identify authentic stamps without the aid of any tools, and enable an advanced polarizing effect, that requires the aid of a small credit card-sized validator or a specialized light source.
  • Using both short- and long-wave fluorescent inks in the watermark, adding complexity and cost to counterfeiting attempts.
  • Proprietary taggants that emit a unique secure signature which can be authenticated using a hand-held scanner.
  • Unique identification numbers for each stamp, allowing retailers and field auditors to quickly determine if packs of cigarettes have been properly stamped with authentic stamps.
  • Enhanced stamp chemistry that improves stamp adhesiveness on cigarette packs, decreases stamp flaking and allows for authentication techniques that do not damage the stamps.  The new chemistry also reduces Volatile Organic Compound emissions and improves the sustainability of the print process.
  • Microprint which deter the ability to reproduce a legitimate stamp’s text by photocopy or scanners.

Improved Enforcement Tools and Value-Adding Support Services

Meyercord Revenue’s new FUSON OASIS® system is more than a tax stamp. It also incorporates an online training tool for law enforcement personnel and auditors, tailored outreach programs to educate retailers and consumers about the stamp and how to report suspected counterfeits, and a suite of simple and effective enforcement solutions that allow for real-time authentication – ranging from low-cost, credit card-sized validators for retailers to do their own checks, to hand-held detectors used by law enforcement officials.

Also, for the first time, Meyercord Revenue is offering direct-to-distributor shipping, web-based ordering and approving on its Heat Transfer product line.  These services are designed to integrate seamlessly into governments’ electronic tax collection initiatives, helping to reduce costs, risk and paperwork.

“We are proud to offer states a solution that will significantly enhance their ability to identify and seize illicit products and increase tax collection,” said Charles Finkel, SICPA’s executive vice president. “Using the FUSON OASIS® system, retailers can easily authenticate tax stamps and be confident that the cigarettes they are selling have been properly taxed. What’s more, this stamp is applied to cigarettes using the same technology as the current FUSON® stamp, requiring no new equipment for distributors.”

About Meyercord Revenue, a SICPA Company

SICPA , founded in 1927 in Lausanne, Switzerland, provides high-tech security inks to most of the world’s currencies and has provided security inks for the U.S. Dollar for more than 30 years. SICPA purchased Meyercord Revenue, Inc. from Illinois Tool Works in September 2010 with the aim of providing more sophisticated solutions to aid state and Federal governments, ranging from basic tax stamps to full-collection solutions with advanced tracing features.

The new FUSON OASIS® stamp joins a suite of other tax collection solutions offered by SICPA including SICPATRACE®, which uses a state-of-the-art encrypted stamp with advanced tracking and tracing features that is currently used in California, Massachusetts and in other markets globally.

For more information visit

SOURCE Meyercord Revenue, Inc., a SICPA company

Battle over tobacco tax rise nears its peak

South China Morning Post – 13 June 2011

City would become world laughing stock if tax increase is blocked, health advocates warn

Hong Kong risks becoming an international laughing stock if lawmakers vote down the government’s proposed tobacco tax increase this week, the Council on Smoking and Health warned yesterday.

Legislators will vote on Wednesday whether to approve a 41.5 per cent increase in the tobacco tax that was announced in the budget four months ago. The tobacco industry and health groups have been lobbying lawmakers on both sides of the debate, and they are planning rallies.

The Civic Party and the Democratic Party will support the tax increase, but the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, the Federation of Trade Unions and Liberal Party are expected to oppose it or abstain.

Lisa Lau Man-man, chairwoman of the Council on Smoking and Health, said that since the tax had already been raised, voting it down would make cigarettes “suddenly much cheaper”. “Hong Kong would become an international laughing stock, as we would be sending the wrong message to smokers – that it is OK for them to continue the lethal habit,” she said.

Lau said lawmakers should vote according to the public’s wishes: 70 per cent of Hongkongers support the tax increase, and the vast majority of residents are non-smokers exposed to the threat of second-hand smoke.

Health professionals are urging lawmakers to vote for the tax rise. “We especially urge medical sector legislator Dr Leung Ka-lau and other doctor-lawmakers to support the initiative,” Professor Lam Tai-hing, director of the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, said.

Imperial Tobacco warns after Spain cuts

Financial Times

By Rose Jacobs

Published: June 13 2011 11:41 | Last updated: June 13 2011 11:41

Imperial Tobacco has issued a profit warning stemming from a price war in Spain.

The company, which owns the Davidoff and Gauloises brands of cigarettes, said on Monday that adjusted operating profits in the region could be as much as £110m lower than previously forecast.

It said the decision to cut prices in recent weeks, having previously raised them in Spain, was “to protect our market position and the long-term sustainability of our Spanish business”.

The country has been a thorn in the company’s side for some time, as a weak economy, coupled with a new public-smoking ban, helped push down volumes dramatically.

Imperial’s larger US rival Philip Morris International, whose Spanish brands include market-leader Marlboro,responded to the difficult market conditions by slashing prices on a number of its brands.

Imperial has subsequently followed suit with price cuts for its Fortuna mid-market brand and value cigarette Ducados, among other products.

Alison Cooper, Imperial’s chief executive, told the Financial Times this spring that she believed declines in Spain would “ameliorate next year”.

Of the £110m of operating profits Imperial believes it may lose, £40m derives from a one-off hit to its logistics business. Outside Spain, the board expects the company’s performance to meet its expectations.

Imperial made an adjusted operating profit of £268m in Spain in the year to September 2010 out of a group total of £2.9bn.

The shares fell 1.4 per cent in early trading on Monday, to £20.56.

Industry observers are uncertain whether Spain is a unique case, or if Imperial could find itself squeezed by its bigger rivals elsewhere, too. “It could be that either Philip Morris or BAT feel there’s a point in the cycle where they’ll take a bit of a hit to keep people smoking,” said one City analyst.

That could mean trouble for Imperial “not just in Spain, but in other markets where they are in close competition with PMI,” said Martin Deboo, an analyst with Investec, in a note last month.

Imperial had hoped rising Spanish consumption of cheaper rolling tobacco would help soften the impact of the waning demand for cigarettes. Its attempts to stem the fall in sales include a smart-phone app that helps smokers find the nearest bar that allows smoking.

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Tobacco ‘s Armageddon -Tobacco Tax Increases – save the children from addiction

From: James Middleton []
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2011 21:25
Subject: Tobacco ‘s Armageddon -Tobacco Tax Increases – save the children from addiction

Please distribute to  All Legco Members

Dear Legco Members,

Tobacco Tax increases on a regular yearly basis and indexed above the rate of inflation level plus plain generic packaging of tobacco products are the Death Knell of Big Tobacco.

Please see the news articles below and be guided accordingly.

Excise Taxation set above 75% of retail price will have marked affects on the local market and youth smoking to the benefit of Hong Kong society and its future leaders, adding 15 years to their lifespan by not smoking.

Tobacco tax increases seriously hinder children and youth peer smoking due the lack of affordability. HK Customs Department has the local contraband situation under control and have yet to use the powers of the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance against the main source of the illicit tobacco here – the tobacco companies themselves which for the past two years (as shown in Customs Department figures) are shown to have supplied 60-65% of genuine product found in the illicit market place by failing to control their supply chains.

7% of the genuine product seizures by HK Customs in the past two years were marked ‘HK Duty Not Paid’’ showing these ‘legal’ products are being leaked through our Duty Free outlets as contraband whilst counterfeit products were reportedly sold to a UK tourist through one Duty Free outlet here, as reported in the UK Press.

Is Legco aware that the Tobacco companies have for some considerable time now, funded a reward scheme for public information provided ‘on counterfeit tobacco’ provided to HK Customs Department contrary to FCTC Treaty guidelines on Government involvement with the tobacco companies  ?

At current June 2011 retail price of HK$ 52 (7-eleven stores) we are still HK$ 20 per packet less expensive for a 20 pack of Marlboro than in Singapore where the Govt intend to ban the sales of tobacco to all persons born after the year 2000.

The cost to Hong Kong Society of smoking including loss of life is US 9.4 billion per year (in 1998 HK$ against Euro value terms – this will be far more now ) .

Please – Compare that to the tobacco Excise tax received per year here.

Sue Big Tobacco like the USA for the cost of healthcare treatment due to their unsafe consumer product that kills 50% of it long term users and also innocent passive smoking bystanders also.

Keep increasing the excise tax to save our children from addiction.

Kind regards,

James Middleton


Clear the Air NGO


Imperial Tobacco sees £110m go up in smokeafter Spanish cigarette ban

Imperial Tobacco has revealed it faces a £110m hit to its profits due to price cutting in the Spanish cigarette market.

It said that price moves in Spain in recent weeks had impacted all tobacco companies there, and it had acted to protect its market position. It said it continued to monitor the situation closely. Its Altadis business has followed key rival Philip Morris in cutting prices after consumption in Spain fell after a ban on smoking in public places, which came into effect on January 1 this year. The moves will hit operating profits for this year by around £110m, including a one-off cost of £40m relating to the impact on its logistics business.

Imperial said that, excluding Spain, the company’s financial performance would be in line with expectations. This has proved little comfort to investors, and the company’s shares have dropped 27p to £20.58.

Imperial Tobacco’s Spanish profits to halve – Citi

Imperial lowered its own profit guidance today, saying that its operating profits in Spain will drop £110 million compared to its previous expectations for the full year

10:29 am by Sergei Balashov

Imperial lowered its own profit guidance today, saying that its operating profits in Spain will drop £110 million compared to its previous expectations for the full year

Imperial Tobacco’s (LON:IMT) profits will more than halve in Spain because of the recent sharp fall in cigarette prices in the country due to a price, according to Citi analyst Adam Spielman.

The warning follows Imperial lowering its profit guidance today, saying that its operating profits in Spain will drop £110 million compared to its previous expectations for the full year. Of this, £40 million represents a one-off non-recurring impact on IMT’s logistics business.

Otherwise, the group’s anticipated financial performance remains in line with expectations.

As a result of the  price war in Spain, prices have dropped €0.20-0.40 per pack of 20 since 18 May, while net prices for manufacturers have fallen €0.15 on average. According to Spielman’s calculations, this will translate into a loss of sales of about €470 million per year in the €3.1 billion market. Imperial’s share of it will be about €150 million.

The reductions in cigarette prices by Imperial Tobacco, whose brands include West and Davidoff, followed a similar move by Philip Morris. This is seen as a result of a ban on smoking in public places imposed by the Spanish government at the start of the year.

“There is no offsetting decrease in costs so the loss will fall straight to the bottom line, more than halving Imperial’s profit from Spain,” said Spielman, reducing his earnings per share estimate for the group’s current year by 4 percent.

He has also cut Imperial Tobacco’s target price to £21.75 per share. That compares to a share price of  £20.62 this morning.