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China’s Tobacco Monopoly Bigger by Profit Than HSBC, Wal-Mart  

Jump to full article: Bloomberg News, 2012-03-06
Author: Bloomberg News

Intro:

China National Tobacco Corp., the nation’s cigarette monopoly, may be larger by annual profit than HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), according to a rare release of the company’s financial data.

The state-owned tobacco company had net income of 117.7 billion yuan ($18.7 billion) in 2010 on sales of 770.4 billion yuan. Industrial Bank Co. released the figures in a statement late yesterday because China National Tobacco is buying a 5.2 billion yuan stake in the Shanghai-listed lender.

Authorities in China, home to a third of all the world’s smokers, have been criticized by groups including the World Health Organization for not doing enough to prevent tobacco use. Critics say the tax revenue the government derives from the industry -- more than $95 billion last year -- has hindered efforts to discourage smoking.

“It would be better if they could also disclose more information about the health impact of their products, which we lack in China,” Wan Xia, a Beijing-based researcher at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences who is studying the effects of smoking in the country, said in a telephone interview.

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