Tobacco Grower Settlement Approval Seen as Political
A judge in the superior court of Wake County, N.C., has entered an order approving the National Tobacco Grower Settlement Trust, a fund set up to assist U.S. tobacco growers hurt by the multi-state agreement reached last November, four leading tobacco com
The schedule of payments to the trust could total as much as $5.15 billion over 12 years, tobacco companies Philip Morris Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. said.
Though the amount does not stack up monetarily to the $206 billion, 25-year settlement with 46 states and the settlements with four individual states totaling $40 billion, tobacco analysts said the approval was important for political reasons.
``The Trust will keep keep tobacco state lawmakers allied with the interests of tobacco industry,'' David Adelman, analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter said. "It's one thing if five farmers dominated tobacco farming, but there are tens of thousands of tobacco farmers and quota holders and that is where the votes are.