IMPERIAL Tobacco has become a major player in the US market after snapping up a raft of brands in a $7.1 billion (£4.1bn) deal.
The Bristol-based maker of Lambert & Butler is acquiring the Kool, Salem and Winston brands from US rival Reynolds, as well as the Blu electronic cigarette business from Lorillard, which last year bought Edinburgh-based Skycig for £60 million.
Imperial said the deal would give it a significant US presence with a 10 per cent share of a market with total annual sales worth $35bn and profits of $14bn.
The FTSE 100-listed firm is picking up the brands being discarded as a result of Reynolds’ planned $27bn acquisition of Lorillard. Imperial chief executive Alison Cooper said: “This is a great opportunity to secure a significant presence in the world’s largest accessible profit pool.”
She added the enlarged US business would represent around 24 per cent of the group’s combined tobacco net revenues.