Shares in British American Tobacco Group (LON:BATS) have advanced in London in today’s session, as the company unveiled an operational shake-up this morning. The move comes as the tobacco manufacturer looks to boost its presence in the e-cigarettes market.
As of 10:34 BST, BAT’s share price had added 0.59 percent to 4,796.50p, largely in line with gains in the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.58 percent higher at 7,408.10 points. The group’s shares have added a little over one percent to their value over the past year, and are up by some three percent in the year-to-date.
BAT announced in a statement this morning that it had decided to simplify its regional structure and to fully integrate its Next Generation Products business into the core operations of the group. The company explained that the move reflected “the outstanding growth of this part of our business to date and its long-term importance to the group’s future”.
“This new structure will enable better, more integrated resource allocation and decision making across geographies and categories,” BAT added.
The restructuring follows the acquisition of Reynolds American and allows the FTSE 100 group to bring its vaping and heated tobacco products into the main business. Reuters noted in its coverage of the news that BAT had been looking to double the number of countries where it sells vaping products this year and again in 2018, as it chases rivals Philip Morris International to grab a share of a growing market.
The overhaul has also seen BAT create the position of chief operating officer for the international business, excluding the US, with Jack Bowels, regional director for the Asia Pacific, appointed to the new job, reporting directly to the Chief Executive, with effect from October 1.