OREANDA-NEWS  Tobacco concern British American Tobacco (BAT) has signed an agreement to sell its business in Russia and Belarus to a consortium headed by local management, the company said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close within the next month. After that, the assets will be renamed to ITMS Group.

The agreement provides for the preservation of the working conditions of employees for two years after the closing of the transaction.

British American Tobacco, one of the world's largest manufacturers of tobacco products, announced its decision to withdraw from the Russian market in March 2022.

The press release also reports that as of June 30, 2023, Russia and Belarus accounted for approximately 2.7% of the group's revenue.

BAT opened a representative office in Russia in 1991, and started manufacturing tobacco products in 1994. In Russia, BAT owns a tobacco factory in St. Petersburg. The company also produces tobacco sticks for its Glo tobacco heating systems.

According to the SPARK-Interfax analytical system, the revenue of International Tobacco Marketing Services LLC (MUMT, a BAT structure in the Russian Federation that deals with wholesale sales) in 2022 amounted to 247.2 billion rubles against 225.4 billion rubles in 2021, net profit - 12.1 billion rubles against 6.2 billion rubles, respectively

Earlier, another large tobacco company, Imperial Brands, left the Russian Federation, which transferred the business to Russian investors associated with Megapolis (the largest cigarette distributor in the Russian Federation, whose beneficiaries are Igor Kesaev and Sergey Katsiev). The new owners changed the names of the companies owned by Imperial Brands to "International Tobacco Group" and "International Tobacco Group Volga" (production site).

Tobacco concern Philip Morris International has stated that it is considering restructuring its business in Russia, including the transfer of assets.

The largest company in the tobacco market of the Russian Federation - Japan Tobacco International - announced the suspension of new investments and marketing activities in Russia.