British American Tobacco

History and Operations

  • The British-American Tobacco Company Ltd. was formed in 1902 as a joint venture between Imperial Tobacco Company and American Tobacco Company.
  • James Buchanan Duke became the chairman of the company.
  • The company began its operations in various countries such as Canada, China, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.
  • BAT inherited a factory in Shanghai, China from W.D. & H.O. Wills.
  • In 1911, the American Tobacco Company sold its share of the company.
  • BAT's Shanghai factory was producing over 243 million cigarettes per week by 1919.
  • BAT's principal Chinese partner was the Wing Tai Vo Tobacco Company.
  • Imperial Tobacco gradually reduced its shareholding in BAT and divested its remaining interests in 1980.
  • BAT's assets in China were seized by the Japanese in 1941 and the company was ejected from China in 1949.
  • In 1994, BAT acquired its former parent, American Tobacco Company.
  • BAT lost a lawsuit in 2002 regarding the right to sell cigarettes under the Marlboro brand name in the UK.
  • BAT acquired Ente Tabacchi Italiani (ETI) S.p.A. in 2003, elevating its position in the Italian tobacco market.
  • BAT acquired a majority holding in the Serbian tobacco company Duvanska Industrija Vranje (DIV) in 2003.
  • BAT combined its U.S. business with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 2004.
  • BAT acquired various companies and brands in countries such as Turkey, Indonesia, Colombia, and Croatia.
  • BAT offers a range of international brands including Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Vogue, and Rothmans International.
  • BAT owns local brands such as Benson & Hedges, John Players Gold Leaf, Hollywood, Derby, and State Express 555 in different countries.
  • BAT has diversified into other fields such as retail, acquiring companies like Gimbels, Kohls, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • BAT also acquired the United Kingdom retail chain Argos.
  • BAT has engaged in partnerships and test-marketing of new products, such as the manufacture of Camel brand snus.

Affiliates and Sponsorships

  • British American Tobacco Ghana Limited is a public limited company operated by British American in Ghana.
  • The company is listed (GSE: BAT) on the stock index of the Ghana Stock Exchange, the GSE All-Share Index.
  • It was formed in 1999 out of a merger between the Pioneer Tobacco Company and Meridian Tobacco.
  • ITC Limited, in which BAT holds a minority share, sponsored the Cricket World Cup in 1996, achieving brand recognition for the Wills cigarette brand in India.
  • BAT sponsors the London Symphony Orchestra.
  • BAT established The British American Tobacco Internship programme to help new graduates gain experience.
  • McLaren signed a multi-year partnership deal with BAT, bringing the company back into Formula 1 in 2019.
  • BAT and McLaren announced an enhanced partnership deal in 2019, with increased branding position.
  • BAT purchased the Tyrrell team in 1997 and renamed it British American Racing (BAR).
  • Honda purchased a stake in BAR in 2004 and later became the sole owner, renaming the team Honda Racing F1 Team.
  • McLaren signed a partnership deal with BAT in 2019, marking BAT's return to Formula 1.
  • Vuse partnered with McLaren F1 Team for bespoke liveries in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Controversies and Lawsuits

  • BAT had information as early as 1958 that cigarettes cause cancer.
  • Tobacco companies were concerned about smoking fatwas in Muslim majority countries.
  • The Nigerian federal government filed a lawsuit against BAT and two other tobacco companies in 2007.
  • BAT's marketing practices in Africa were investigated and found to potentially violate company standards.
  • BAT invested in a North Korean state-owned enterprise in 2001, allegedly producing cigarettes for consumption and smuggling.
  • The three largest Canadian tobacco companies, including BAT, faced a class action lawsuit in 2012.
  • Quebec smokers were awarded over $15 billion in damages in a landmark case against Canadian cigarette giants.
  • BAT, along with other tobacco companies, sued the Australian government over plain packaging legislation.
  • BAT was fined by HMRC in 2014 for oversupplying the Belgian market and contributing to tobacco smuggling.
  • BBC Panorama alleged that BAT bribed officials in Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya to limit the implementation of tobacco control measures.
  • Whistleblower Paul Hopkins provided documents showing BAT's involvement in bribery.
  • BAT denied the allegations.
  • BAT and other tobacco companies used threats and bullying to hinder anti-smoking legislation in African countries.
  • Documents revealed BAT's request to quash anti-smoking legislation in Kenya.
  • British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Philip Barton, was accused of lobbying for BAT interests.
  • Barton attended a meeting where BAT executives tried to convince Pakistani ministers to veto health warnings on cigarette packets.
  • This activity went against Foreign and Commonwealth Office policy.
  • Similar incidents involving British ambassadors supporting BAT were reprimanded.
  • BAT actively marketed and sold its products in unstable and impoverished nations and conflict zones.
  • Internal documents revealed plans to sell black-market cigarettes in parts of Somalia controlled by Al-Shabaab.
  • BAT pursued volume growth in South Sudan just before its independence.
  • The Kent cigarette brand was actively marketed in Iraq and Syria during the Iraq War and Syrian Civil War.
  • OCCRP investigation revealed that BAT's cigarette trafficking helped finance jihadist and separatist groups in northern Mali.
  • A BAT subsidiary admitted to selling cigarettes to North Korea, violating US sanctions.
  • US authorities investigated the activity spanning from 2007 to 2017.
  • BAT was fined $635 million and described as the DOJ's largest single North Korean sanctions penalty.
  • Attorney General Matthew Olsen commented on the settlement fee.
  • The violation required BAT to pay the fine and interests to US authorities.

Acquisitions and Investments

  • British American Tobacco buys TDR for €550 million.

British American Tobacco Data Sources

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph