By Chang-Ran Kim and Ritsuko Shimizu
TOKYO Aug 25 Japan Tobacco Inc is
currently not interested in further acquisitions of vaporisers
or electronic cigarette brands, its president said on Monday.
Japan Tobacco, the world's third-biggest tobacco company is
poised to complete a takeover of Zandera, the UK maker of the
E-Lites e-cigarette brand, in the next few weeks.
It also has a stake in Ploom, a U.S.-based maker of
electronic pipe tobacco products or "vaporisers" with which it
has signed a deal to sell the devices outside the United States.
Like other global cigarette makers, Japan Tobacco is turning
to e-cigarettes and other smoking alternatives to offset
shrinking demand for regular tobacco cigarettes.
In Russia, its biggest and most lucrative overseas market,
tobacco cigarette sales are set to shrink by about a tenth this
year, while the smoking population at home has fallen for 19
"With Ploom and E-Lites, we have the know-how and technology
to get things started," President and Chief Executive Mitsuomi
Koizumi told Reuters in an interview.
Litigation risks have kept Japan Tobacco out of the United
States, and Koizumi said the company still has no plans to sell
regular tobacco products or e-cigarettes there.
The company also has no plans to introduce e-cigarettes to
Japan, Koizumi said.
Devices such as vapour tanks, which allow users to customise
nicotine levels and puff thousands of flavours, have recently
eaten into e-cigarette sales, raising the question of whether
global tobacco makers would target such products next.
Asked about these devices, Koizumi said Japan Tobacco would
steer clear of anything that didn't make use of its expertise as
a tobacco company, including exotic flavours.
The United States is the world's biggest market for
e-cigarettes. Last month, the world's fourth largest tobacco
firm Imperial Tobacco Group Plc said it would buy a
string of U.S. brands including Lorillard Inc's blu
(Editing by Miral Fahmy)