(Adds JTI confirmation, updates lead and headline)
Aug 27 (Reuters) - Tobacco giants Imperial Brands and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) have hired advisers to examine options for struggling British cigarette wholesaler Palmer & Harvey (P&H).
Imperial, the maker of the Davidoff and Golden Virginia brands, has appointed accounting firm EY while its Japanese counterpart has appointed Deloitte, to look at ways of securing the viability of P&H.
P&H is one of the UK’s largest private companies and Imperial and JTI are reportedly two of its biggest creditors.
The troubled business has been rattled by grocer Tesco’s 3.7 billion pound deal to acquire rival wholesaler Booker.
Tesco reportedly accounts for some 40 percent of P&H’s sales and there has been speculation that P&H could lose some of this Tesco business because of the Booker deal, putting its finances under even greater strain.
The Sunday Times had earlier reported that Imperial and JTI have hired advisers for rescuing P&H. (bit.ly/2wfUP4M)
Spokesmen for EY and Deloitte declined to comment. (Reporting by Ben Martin in London, additional reporting by Martinne Geller in London and Parikshit Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by David Evans and Sandra Maler)