• May 28, 2024

Imperial latest to hop aboard e-cig train

Imperial Tobacco, the world’s fourth-largest cigarette group by market share, said it had set up a venture to develop e-cigarettes, as it battles an increasingly tough consumer environment in Europe.

The company said Fontem Ventures would look into areas such as e-vapor cigarettes, according to a story published by Reuters.

“We’re looking at opportunities and we’re actively developing in that area at the moment,” CEO Alison Cooper said on Tuesday, adding that the company would be “open-minded” to making acquisitions.

E-cigarettes –battery-powered metal tubes that turn nicotine-laced liquid into vapor– are gaining popularity among smokers trying to quit. Rival British American Tobacco set up Nicoventures, in 2011 to develop such products.

Imperial has been combating falling smoker numbers in developed countries and rising black market trade in countries such as Spain and France by raising prices, cutting costs and focusing on emerging markets, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

The company said full-year earnings per share growth would be at the lower end of its 4–8 percent target range due to such challenges. Analysts had been expecting Imperial to post a 5.6 percent rise, Reuters data showed.