MOSCOW Nov 29 Britain's Imperial Brands
, the world's fourth-biggest tobacco company, will shut
one of its two Russian factories in January, it said on Tuesday,
citing increased taxes and the impact of changes to sales
The closure also comes as the company accelerates a
cost-cutting drive in an increasingly competitive industry in
which larger rival British American Tobacco (BAT) has
proposed a $47 billion buyout of Reynolds American,
potentially sparking further sector consolidation.
"Among the factors that influenced our decision to close the
factory was (the) increasing ... tax burden on our goods. We've
been also impacted by a ban on production of packs containing
more than 20 cigarettes," Imperial said in a statement.
The Yaroslavl plant operated by the group's Imperial Tobacco
subsidiary, is working at 40 percent of capacity and will be
shut on Jan. 1, with the loss of 284 jobs, it said.
Russia began tightening regulations of the tobacco market in
2013, restricting cigarette sales and banning advertising and
sponsorship of events by tobacco companies, followed by a ban on
smoking in public places.
It has also raised excise taxes, hurting a Russian cigarette
market dominated by foreign groups including BAT, Imperial
Brands, Japan Tobacco and Philip Morris.
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by David Goodman)