There is some irony in the re-entry of BAT to Myanmar, to pick up where it left off more than a decade ago in producing and distributing cigarettes. But back then, Myanmar was a pariah state and BAT was widely condemned for its links to a brutal military regime. Now, with a rapidly expanding economy and growing foreign interest, investing in Myanmar is a feel-good story – despite growing concerns about the spread of racial and ethnic violence. Continue reading »
After years of debate, enhanced tobacco controls are finally coming to Indonesia, one of the world’s least regulated and (surprise, surprise) largest tobacco markets.
But analysts reckon big cigarette companies in Indonesia, from local players such as Gudang Garam to the likes of Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco, need not be too worried. Continue reading »
Promoting its recent World Tobacco Asia conference in Jakarta, UK-based organiser Quartz Business Media was unashamed, noting on its website that “Indonesia is a recognized tobacco-friendly market with no smoking bans or other restrictions and regulations in contrast to neighbouring Asean countries.”
With 61m smokers – that’s 67 per cent of all men and 5 per cent of women – and an average 20-pack costing just Rp12,700 ($1.32), Indonesia is the world’s fourth biggest cigarette market, in addition to being one of the least regulated. Continue reading »
For two years Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF has been ratcheting up the pressure on foreign-owned firms demanding that they dispose of a minimum of 51 per cent of their shares to indigenous Zimbabweans. This week’s agreement (in principle) for the localisation of majority ownership of Zimbabwe’s largest exporter Zimplats has the potential to be a gamechanger, economically and politically.
With elections due in the next 18 months, the Zanu-PF will be keen to push on with the programme. So which companies are next in line? Continue reading »