BAT says it buys big Colombian cigarette maker

26th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

British American Tobacco on Thursday snapped up Protabaco, Colombia's second-largest cigarette maker, for $452 million (319 million euros), it said, strengthening its presence in the Latin American nation.

"BAT has agreed to acquire a 100 percent interest in privately-owned Productora Tabacalera de Colombia, S.A.S. (Protabaco) for an enterprise value of US$452 million," it said in an official statement.

"On completion, the acquisition will elevate BAT from third to second place in Colombia, Latin America's fourth largest cigarette market with total industry sales of around 17 billion cigarettes in 2010."

BAT is the second biggest cigarette maker in the world and its best-selling brands are Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall.

Protobaco sold 5.5 billion cigarettes last year in Colombia, where its biggest product Mustang is the second best-selling cigarette brand.

"This investment will strengthen and complement our position in an important market and fill a strategic gap in our Americas region," said Mark Cobben, BAT's Director for the Americas.

© 2011 AFP

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