The Russo-Ukrainian War: Latest News and Updates

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Cigarette giant Imperial Brands PLC said it was in talks about moving its assets and operations to Russia, becoming the latest tobacco company to signal plans to leave the country.

Imperial, which manufactures the JPS and Gauloises brands, announced on Tuesday that it had started negotiations with a local third party on the sale of its 1,000 sales and marketing staff in Russia as well as its Volgograd plant.

A spokesperson declined to say whether Imperial would keep its brands like West in Russia since negotiations are still ongoing. Imperial’s announcement comes after rival British American Tobacco PLC said on Friday it would also transfer assets to a local company and exit Russia altogether.

Other global tobacco giants have so far retained their operations in Russia. Philip Morris International Inc. announced that it would suspend planned investments in Russia and reduce manufacturing operations, while Japan Tobacco Inc. announced that it would suspend its investment and marketing activities, including the planned launch of a new product.

Tobacco companies were among the first major Western brands to land in Russia in the early 1990s as the country transitioned from communism to capitalism.

BAT, Philip Morris Cos. and RJ Reynolds Tobacco International SA – now owned by BAT – were among the first to win, snatching market share from domestic producers, aided by expensive advertising campaigns.

On weekends, “Lucky Strike girls” roamed the bars of Moscow, offering customers a cigarette and a light.

“American cigarettes were once so rare here, they were worth more than money,” the Wall Street Journal wrote in 1995. “Now Western cigarettes are easier to buy than a carton of milk.”

Russia and Ukraine together accounted for about 2% of Imperial’s revenue and 0.5% of its profits last year. Imperial said the financial impact of the exit from Russia and the disruptions in Ukraine would reduce its full-year constant currency net revenue growth forecast to around 1%, down from previous guidance. about 1.4%.

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