British American Tobacco finalizes Russia exit
British American Tobacco has finalized its exit from Russia about 18 months after it pledged to do so in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The multinational cigarette maker said in a statement Thursday it agreed “to sell its Russian and Belarusian businesses in compliance with local and international laws.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the transaction is expected to be completed within a month, the company said.
“Upon completion, BAT will no longer have a presence in Russia or Belarus and will receive no financial gain from ongoing sales in these markets,” it added.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022, thousands of companies such as Apple, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola pulled out of Russia. However, other global tobacco giants are still doing business in the country, including Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International.
London-based BAT is a key player in the global tobacco market with business operations in more than 100 countries. BAT’s top brands include Camel and Newport.
It controlled nearly 25% of Russia’s tobacco market, which is the fourth largest in the world, according to Reuters.
The buyer is a consortium led by members of BAT Russia’s management team, which will wholly own the Russian and Belarusian businesses, BAT said. They will then be known as the ITMS Group.
BAT said the employment of workers in Russia will remain comparable to their existing terms for at least two years after the deal closes.