Japan Tobacco considers sale of Russia operations

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TOKYO, April 28 (Reuters) - Japan Tobacco (JT) (2914.T) said on Thursday it was considering selling its Russia operations after suspending investment and marketing activities in the country last month following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The announcement by JT, market leader in Russia, came after it said in March it would continue manufacturing in the country, where it has four factories and 4,000 employees. read more

That announcement drew criticism after many global brands pulled out over the invasion of Ukraine and governments, including Japan, levied heavy sanctions against Moscow. Russia calls its action in Ukraine a "special operation".

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A JT spokesperson said the company is considering various options for its Russian operations, but could not comment on potential buyers for the stake. In the current fiscal year, the company estimated Russia will contribute about 8% of JT's group revenue and 15% of adjusted operating profit.

Japan's Ministry of Finance is the biggest shareholder in JT, holding one third of its shares, which deliver about $1 billion in dividend revenue to the government each year. read more

(This story corrects to show percentages in paragraph 4 refer to current fiscal year not previous one)

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Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Kenneth Maxwell

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