Puffing ITC non-filter Cigarettes to cost dear

MUMBAI/KOLKATA: With the government yet to budge on the tobacco industry’s demands, Kolkata-based ITC is readying for a possible hike in prices of non-filter Cigarettes.

MUMBAI/KOLKATA: With the government yet to budge on the tobacco industry’s demands, Kolkata-based ITC is readying for a possible hike in prices of non-filter Cigarettes. The company, which is believed to have stopped production of the variety, is contemplating this move, as an extended closure would mean huge losses for the company and for those dependent on it. Sources say ITC plans to hike prices soon and the product with the new price tag would be made available in the market by the end of this quarter. The company is also likely to resume production by then. ITC officials were not available for comment. In his last Budget, finance minister P Chidambaram increased excise duty on non-filter Cigarettes to bring them on a par with filter Cigarettes. For Cigarettes between 60 mm and 70 mm length, excise duty was increased from Rs 546 to Rs 1,323 per 1,000 Cigarettes while for Cigarettes below 60 mm, it went up from Rs 168 to Rs 819 per 1,000 Cigarettes. As per an analyst with a local brokerage firm, the company would only look at a price hike if the conversion rate to filter Cigarettes is quite low. “The company is adopting a wait-and-watch policy as far as conversion from non-filter to filter Cigarettes is concerned. If the conversion is quite low, then the company would not consider it,” Anand Mour of Prabhudas Lilladher said.

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