British American Tobacco wants out
British American Tobacco (BAT) will discontinue operations in Egypt this month due to concerns about the market’s long-term commercial viability, a company spokesperson told Enterprise. The company — whose brands include Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Viceroy, and Rothmans — will no longer sell its products in Egypt, ending its operations after 22 years. More than 150 employees will be affected by the move. The Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) reportedly received a notice last week confirming the move, Ibrahim Imbabi, head of the FEI’s tobacco division said, according to Sada El Balad.
It wasn’t just us apparently: “There are other markets affected, and Egypt is not the only one,” Mariana Magdy, director of the company’s external and government relations department told Zawya on Wednesday.
The decision has nothing to do with the new tobacco manufacturing license, the company said, but is solely based on the long-term viability of selling the cigarettes in Egypt. “The decision came after a global review by the company of its activities and an assessment of the long-term commercial feasibility,” she noted.
BAT Egypt was reportedly one of the companies to object to the tender last year, arguing that the conditions would establish a new monopoly over the manufacture of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. Philip Morris subsidiary United Tobacco Company was ultimately the only company to apply for the license and is now working with Eastern Company — which has purchased a 24% stake in United as part of the agreement — to become the country’s second cigarette manufacturer.