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Taxes on cigarette companies unfair: Godfrey Phillips

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, Sept. 24

THE cigarette industry has been hit by "prohibitive and discriminatory tax and marketing restrictions", according to Mr R.A. Shah, Chairman, Godfrey Phillips India (GPI).

Speaking at the company's annual general meeting (AGM) here on Tuesday, Mr Shah urged the Government to come up with a reasonable and practical regulatory mechanism for the industry, which was facing stagnation.

According to a release, a 15 per cent hike in excise duty coupled with the economic downturn following the September 11 attacks in the US had crippled the cigarette industry, which provides employment to nearly 30 million people. Further, the dumping of "cheap, smuggled cigarettes" had come as yet another setback to the sector.

GPI posted a turnover of Rs 960 crore in 2001-02. The profit before tax stood at Rs 71.84 crore. The shareholders on Tuesday approved a dividend of Rs 18.50 per share compared to Rs 16 per share in the previous year (2000-01).

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