Magazine article Marketing

BAT Soft-Pedals on UK Comeback Plans

Magazine article Marketing

BAT Soft-Pedals on UK Comeback Plans

Article excerpt

The possible comeback of the world's second largest tobacco company, BAT, into the UK cigarette market has been slammed by industry experts as "implausible and of questionable wisdom".

The move would place the UK-based multinational in direct confrontation with Gallagher and Imperial Tobacco, which control three quarters of the UK market.

BAT chief executive Martin Broughton told the Observer last Sunday that a return to UK tobacco "should not be ruled out of court", though the company has been at pains since then to deny it has any immediate plans.

"We have greater priorities in eastern Europe and the developing markets of Asia," said a spokesman this week.

Analysts agree that BAT has only one significant brand in its portfolio to deploy in the UK market.

"BAT would be looking for at least 20% share," says Simon Willis, tobacco analyst at County NatWest. "But the only brand they could deploy is 555 State Express and they don't have the distribution and sales infrastructure."

"We have a policy of developing a few key brands," says Jimi Rembiszewski, marketing director of BAT Co which markets BAT's UK blend cigarettes worldwide. …

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