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British American Tobacco boosts bet on e-cigs

British American Tobacco is set to buy a Polish e-cigarette company and team up with fellow tobacco company RJ Reynolds as it seeks a greater foothold in the vapours game.

In an announcement on Tuesday BAT said it had signed a conditional agreement to buy the whole of Poland’s CHIC Group, which it says has 800 points of sale in Poland, an “e-liquids” production facility and a clutch of Polish e-ciggie brands.

BAT’s managing director of so-called ‘next generation products’ Kingsley Wheaton said the deal:

is strategically significant and makes commercial sense. It provides BAT with scale and market reach through Europe’s largest eCigarette retailing network, as well as important manufacturing and R&D capabilities. It further demonstrates our commitment to the NGP category.

Approval from Polish anti-competition authorities is needed next.

The tie-up with RJ Reynolds of the US, meanwhile, “provides a framework for collaboration and mutual cross-licensing of the parties’ vapour product technologies up to 31 December 2022.”

The two companies are expecting to conclude and sign a final agreement on this by the end of this year.

Mr Wheaton added:

Today, we’ve announced two significant milestones to enhance our next generation product business globally, further enabling us to meet the demands of today’s consumer

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