BAT in Talks to Transfer Russian Business

    Photo: scaliger

    BAT is in advanced talks to transfer its Russian business to Russia’s SNS Group of Companies after Moscow suggested it could nationalize assets of foreign firms that left the country, reports Reuters.

    BAT controls just under 25 percent of the Russian tobacco market.

    “The process of transferring the management of BAT business in Russia to SNS GC is well underway at remarkable speed,” said an SNS spokesperson.

    BAT declined to comment but said last week that it was looking for parties interested in the transfer of the Russian business. Kingsley Wheaton, BAT’s chief marketing officer, stated that BAT’s distributor could be interested in a transfer, adding that exiting the business or stopping sales or manufacturing would be seen as a criminal bankruptcy by Russia and BAT would face legal consequences.

    The level of production and the supply and distribution chain will be maintained with a transfer, according to the SNS spokesperson. Whether BAT will pull out completely or continue to supply SNS with raw materials or manufacturing support is unclear.