Reemtsma to be floated

REEMTSMA, the parent company of McLaren sponsor West, is to be floated although the company is also in talks about a sale to Japan Tobacco. Either course of action could have important knock-on effects in Formula 1 as a flotation would lead to shareholder pressure to make profits and F1 might be seen as a wasteful program. If the firm was sold to Japan Tobacco there would be a clash of interest as JT owns Benetton sponsor Mild Seven.

Reemtsma is the world's fourth largest tobacco company behind Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco and has been growing rapidly in the old Eastern bloc. It is also the German distributor for Benson & Hedges.

Reemtsma is largely owned by the coffee company Tchibo, which belongs to the Herz Family, one of Germany's richest.

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