Imperial tobacco’s venture in Africa: a cover for more smuggling?

Monday 02 April 2001


For immediate release: Monday 2 April  2001


ImperialTobacco’s venture in Africa –  a coverfor smuggling?


Following the announcementtoday that Imperial Tobacco is to purchase a 75% stake in the Paris-basedTobaccor company, ASH responded that this could be a cover to allow the companyto expand its illegal trading activity in the African continent.


ASH has amassed considerable <ahref=”http:”” html=”” smuggling=”” uksmuggling.html”=””>evidenceto show that the UK tobacco companies are implicated in tobacco smuggling on ahuge scale. [1]  Southern Africa hasbeen identified as a major tobacco smuggling route by UK Customs.


ASH’s Research Manager,Amanda Sandford commented:    “ImperialTobacco’s purchase of Tobaccor may have the dual purpose of expanding itslegitimate market  in Africa whilefurther disguising a major trade in contraband.”


In a review of its activitiesin 2000, Imperial Tobacco boasted that the company


“…hasachieved impressive results in Southern and Western African countries, withparticularly strong growth in Regal and Superkings.” [2]


While the company maintainsthat these exports are for markets in Angola and Mozambique, a substantialvolume of these cigarettes return to the UK.


Amanda Sandford added: “Tobacco companies are fond of talking about  growing markets but fail to acknowledge the consequences of theiractions.


“Whatever the true purpose of this latest expansion byImperial, the result will almost certainly be a dramatic rise insmoking-related diseases and premature deaths.”




[1]  Tobaccosmuggling in the UK.  October 2000

[2]  ImperialTobacco, the Way Ahead ­ A supplement to World Tobacco, July 2000





Amanda Sandford, ASH  020 7739 5902 or

Clive Bates, ASH.   020 7739 5902  or 077 6879 1237 (mobile)

ISDN available