Japan's JT negotiating 40% stake in Ethiopian tobacco monopoly

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TOKYO — Japan Tobacco is in talks to invest in Ethiopia’s National Tobacco Enterprise after placing the top bid for a 40% stake in the state-owned company.

JT, which operates in more than 120 markets and ranks third in global tobacco market share, would be expected to pay $500 million for the stake. The Ethiopian government will select one bidder soon for exclusive negotiations on the sale.


The Japanese company outbid a number of rivals in last Thursday’s tender, including British American Tobacco, which offered $230 million.
JT has been seeking a bigger presence in Africa and the Middle East. It bought a cigarette maker operating in Sudan and South Sudan in 2011, followed by an Egyptian water pipe tobacco company in 2013. Last September, it made a subsidiary of Arian Tobacco Industry of Iran.

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