RJ Reynolds and Gallaher

IN 1999 RJR Nabisco agreed to sell its non-American tobacco businesses to Japan Tobacco for $8bn. It seemed that the owner of Camel and Winston had thus decided to get out of the international tobacco business. Now it seems that the firm - now known as RJ Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc. - is going back into the fray with the announcement of an alliance with the British tobacco company Gallaher (which owns Benson & Hedges) to market their brands in Europe.

The joint venture will be based in Switzerland and will see Gallaher making RJR brands for the European markets. These will include the new Reynolds brand in addition to the Benson & Hedges American Blend and Benson & Hedges Red brands. The push into Europe - a traditional F1 market - is for five years (which is about the same length of time as the freedom from anti-tobacco legislation. Perhaps the new company might be interested in using the sport to promote its sales.

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