Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has reportedly bought an Iranian cigarette maker in an attempt to reinforce its position as the market leader in a country prior to the expected relaxation of sanctions.
The Financial Times reports that JTI Pars, its Iranian subsidiary, recently acquired the privately owned Arian Tobacco Industry (ATI) for an undisclosed amount.
One source said the purchase was likely a response to expectations that Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, was expected to enter the market.
“This acquisition will double JTI’s market share and helps to maintain its competitive advantage — thanks to JTI Pars’ presence in Iran since 2002 — before Marlboro steps into this market,” the person said.
The other foreign tobacco companies operating in Iran are British American Tobacco (BAT), through its subsidiary BAT Pars, and KT&G of Korea.
(Picture: Yasutake Tango (Chairman), Mitsuomi Koizumi (President and CEO) – JTI)