Mastermind move in Kenya

    Kenya’s second-biggest cigarette maker, Mastermind Tobacco, has entered into negotiations that could see it sell a majority stake to Philip Morris International, according to a story in The Business Daily.

    The Daily reported that the multi-billion-shilling deal was expected to include a cash injection into the business that would see Mastermind upgrade its factory to start producing Marlboro.

    Mastermind founder Wilfred Murungi reportedly declined to respond to the Daily’s requests for a comment, but multiple sources familiar with the ongoing negotiations were said to have indicated that the transaction was at an advanced stage.

    Mastermind manufactures brands such as Supermatch, Rocket and Supermatch Menthol, but its production could expand to take in some PMI brands, such as Marlboro, Parliament, Bond Street and Chesterfield.

    PMI is expected to acquire 51 percent of Mastermind’s shares.

    British American Tobacco is Kenya’s biggest cigarette maker while Cut Tobacco is third.