BAT ready to ‘glo’ in Korea

British American Tobacco said today that the second and third manufacturing facilities at its Sacheon factory had been completed.

The factory has been expanded to support the sales growth of BAT’s tobacco heating product (THP), glo™, and with the intention of South Korea becoming a key export hub for the company in Asia.

Part of the new facilities will be used to manufacture the Neostiks™ tobacco sticks that are heated in BAT’s glo device to create a vapor that is said to provide a consumer experience similar to that of cigarette smoke but with reduced risk potential.

With the completion of the new facilities, BAT Korea has become the only cigarette manufacturer with a manufacturing factory in Korea equipped with facilities to produce tobacco sticks.

BAT Korea started construction of the Sacheon factory’s second and third manufacturing facilities, which are costing about 200 billion won, in June 2016.

It has hired more than 200 employees from the Sacheon region.

Through this expansion, the factory is expected to be able to produce about 40 billion combustible cigarettes a year. It is said to be ‘moving towards becoming the export hub for BAT in Asia, leading both the global and local cigarette and THP markets’.

The factory almost doubled the proportion of its exports between 2015 and 2017, and BAT Korea is looking to expand the number of its export markets, which currently stand at 13.

Export volumes to Japan are expected to increase as the factory takes up exclusive responsibility for the production in Asia of Neostiks.

Glo, which was launched in Sendai, Japan, in December, is said to have captured a regional market share of more than seven percent.

BAT Japan is expanding sales of glo to other places in Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka and Miyagi, and, by the end of the year, intends to go nation-wide with the product.

Meanwhile, BAT Korea is preparing for the launch of glo during the second half of this year.

“BAT Korea’s Sacheon factory is expected to not only take up the role of an export hub of Asia but also a global manufacturing hub of specially designed tobacco Neostiks made exclusively for our THP device glo,” BAT Korea’s CEO Tony Hayward was quoted as saying

“The BAT Group has high expectations for the expansion of the Sacheon factory, which is already assessed to be one of the best facilities among the group’s manufacturing plants. BAT Korea is committed to launching glo in Korea and offering ‘made in Korea’ products to local adult smokers interested in THPs.”