Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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AG Announces Vibo Corporation As The Latest Tobacco Company To Join The Master Settlement Agreement

August 19, 2004

Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that Vibo Corporation of Miami, Florida has joined the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement ("MSA") as a Participating Manufacturer. Vibo, which does business as General Tobacco, sells a number of cigarette brands such as Bronco, GT One, Silver and Champion.

"Under current market conditions, this agreement will be worth $1.7 billion to all the states over the next ten years," Myers said. "Oregon's share of that will be approximately $19 million over the next decade, including an upfront payment of more than $870,000."

The MSA was originally entered into between 46 States and the major tobacco companies in November 1998. Since that time, more than 40 other companies have joined the MSA.

Participating Manufacturers under the MSA are bound by a wide array of restrictions on the advertising, promotion and marketing of cigarettes, including outright bans on targeting youth, outdoor advertising, and distribution of any merchandise advertising a cigarette brand. Since the MSA took effect, youth smoking rates nationally have dropped by more than 25 percent and overall smoking has declined nearly 20 percent. Participating Manufacturers also make substantial payments to the States, and as a result of today's agreement Vibo will make an immediate payment of $78 million to the MSA States, and make full payment of its ongoing obligations in each succeeding year. Vibo agreed to make quarterly payments of these obligations to the States.

"Vibo's decision to join the MSA is especially significant because the company represents by far the largest tobacco product manufacturer remaining outside the MSA," Myers explained. Vibo is the exclusive US importer of cigarettes from Protabaco, S.A., of Bogota, Colombia, and today's agreement binds Protabaco to sell all of its cigarettes in the U.S. through Vibo and in accordance with the MSA.

Officials on the Tobacco Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General, which coordinates state enforcement of the MSA, see Vibo's agreement to join the MSA as a very important indicator of a growing recognition by companies outside the agreement that it is in their interest to observe the public health restrictions of the MSA.

Contact:

Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) jan.margosian@doj.state.or.us |
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