The British British Tobacco cigarette manufacturer (BAT) will cut 2,300 jobs to respond to the upheaval of a sector facing the rise of electronic cigarettes.
The group, one of the world heavyweights, faced as its competitors with the inexorable decline in volumes sold traditional cigarettes, unveiled Thursday this restructuring plan which concerns all of its activities in the world and must end with 'here january 2020.
The expected job cuts represent nearly 5% of the total workforce of the group, which has some 55,000 employees worldwide.
BAT, known for its brands Lucky Strike, Dunhill, Kent and Rothmans, says it intends to simplify its organization and have fewer hierarchical levels. This will reduce staffing by approximately 20% of the positions of responsibility.
The group says it wants to better support new consumption patterns, as people in developed countries tend to reduce their consumption of cigarettes, and save money to invest more in new products like e-cigarettes.
This restructuring is the first major step taken by new General Manager Jack Bowles, who has been in office since April.
"My goal is to change things to grow the category of new products and significantly simplify our way of working while ensuring a long-term return on investment for our shareholders," says BAT boss in the release.
- Giant Fusion -
He added that this plan should make it easier for the group to reach its goal of a turnover of 5 billion pounds by 2023-2024 in new products.
The market seemed to like the news. The title of the group took 1.71% to 3,095.00 pence on the London Stock Exchange around 10:30 GMT.
BAT is not the only one to try to react in a sector where the cards are rebated in order to find the parade against the decline of the traditional cigarette.
The current world number three cigarette, Japan Tobacco, announced in early September a major reorganization of its administrative functions outside Japan, which should affect 3,720 employees, or 6% of its total workforce.
Above all, at the end of August, two of the world's largest tobacco companies, Philip Morris International and Altria, unveiled talks to merge again with the inexorable drop in cigarette sales ten years after their separation.
BAT, under the era of Nicando Durante, predecessor of Mr. Bowles, had meanwhile significantly increased its presence in the United States via the acquisition of Reynolds American, closed in the summer of 2017 for nearly 50 billion dollars.
This acquisition not only allowed BAT to take under its umbrella the Camel and Newport brands, but also to become a major player in the electronic cigarette.
- Trump is rampant -
Coincidentally, BAT's press release comes a few hours after the Donald Trump government's decision to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in the coming months, to thwart their growing success in US colleges and high schools.
For Russ Mold, an analyst at AJ Bell, BAT "must hope that the repression of vaping will not ruin its growth ambitions".
Experts are divided on the dangers of vaping, which involves inhaling vapors created by heating a liquid inside a cigarette at high temperature.
Some believe that the latter helps fight against smoking. The WHO has a very harsh judgment that they can not be recommended as a weaning aid since they always contain nicotine.
© 2019 AFP