CLARENCE, N.Y. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- 22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE MKT:XXII) announced today that NASCO Products, LLC, a federally licensed tobacco product manufacturer and participating member of the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), entered into a multi-year manufacturing agreement with Smoker Friendly International to produce the Smoker Friendly private label cigarette brand.
Smoker Friendly International, LLC licenses retailers to use its “Smoker Friendly” name and sell its “SF” products. Currently, Smoker Friendly has approximately 800 stores throughout the United States under license. These stores are independently owned and operated. The SF brand has been on the market for over 20 years and is the private label brand in Smoker Friendly stores. Starting in January 2015, the SF brand of cigarettes will be made by NASCO Products in the Mocksville, North Carolina factory, which 22nd Century Group purchased earlier in 2014.
Barry Saintsing, Plant Manager and former Master Product Developer at RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, stated “The factory is in tip-top shape and ready to begin work on the important Smoker Friendly contract.” In fact, after a few months of refurbishing and optimizing the machinery – mainly by ex-RJR mechanics and operators – the factory commenced producing and selling various brands of commercial filtered cigars in June 2014. Mr. Saintsing added, “In addition to the products the factory is already manufacturing, we are in discussions with a half dozen other parties to contract manufacture additional brands, including some brands for export.”
As previously reported by the Company, upon all the settling states of the MSA executing NASCO Product’s amended Adherence Agreement to the MSA, 22nd Century’s acquisition of NASCO will immediately become effective, and 22nd Century’s super-premium brands will be produced by NASCO Products. At which time, NASCO Products will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of 22nd Century Group. 22nd Century’s management expects this to occur imminently.
In anticipation of MSA authorization, last week 22nd Century made a presentation at the Smoker Friendly Tobacco Festival and Conference in Boulder Colorado to announce the new Smoker Friendly manufacturing agreement and to introduce RED SUN® to Smoker Friendly retailers. Henry Sicignano III, 22nd Century Group’s President reported, “Smoker Friendly retailers were delighted with our RED SUN brand.” Embracing the extraordinary tasting cigarette that smokers describe as “The Best Cigarette Ever Made,” retailers believe RED SUN will strike a chord with well-heeled smokers who seek a super-premium brand that, in fact, is a relevant and differentiated brand to consumers, as compared to the best-selling commercial brands. Mr. Sicignano added, “Based on the feedback we received at the conference, we expect hundreds of Smoker Friendly stores to carry RED SUN upon the brand becoming an MSA brand.”
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About 22nd Century Group, Inc.
22nd Century is a plant biotechnology company whose proprietary technology allows for the levels of nicotine and other nicotinic alkaloids (e.g., nornicotine, anatabine and anabasine) in the tobacco plant to be decreased or increased through genetic engineering and plant breeding. 22nd Century owns or is the exclusive licensee of 129 issued patents in 78 countries plus an additional 44 pending patent applications. Goodrich Tobacco Company, LLC and Hercules Pharmaceuticals, LLC are wholly-owned subsidiaries of 22nd Century. Goodrich Tobacco is focused on commercial tobacco products and potential less harmful cigarettes. Hercules Pharmaceuticals is focused on X-22, a prescription smoking cessation aid in development.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking information, including all statements that are not statements of historical fact regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of 22nd Century Group, Inc., its directors or its officers with respect to the contents of this press release. The words “may,” “would,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend” and similar expressions and variations thereof are intended to identify forward-looking statements. We cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity or performance. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date that they were made. These cautionary statements should be considered with any written or oral forward-looking statements that we may issue in the future. Except as required by applicable law, including the securities laws of the United States, we do not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements to conform these statements to reflect actual results, later events or circumstances, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should carefully review and consider the various disclosures made by us in our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, filed on January 30, 2014, including the section entitled “Risk Factors,” and our other reports filed with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission which attempt to advise interested parties of the risks and factors that may affect our business, financial condition, results of operation and cash flows. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if the underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from those expected or projected.