In the modern times the industry was predominated by American manufacturers since most of the tobacco was grown in the US. However, since the late 60s early 70s USA lost its grip on the market welcoming manufacturers from other countries.
Philip Morris International (Altria Group)
The biggest and the oldest cigarette manufacturer is Philip Morris established in 1874 by Philip Morris, Esq., Tobacconist and Importer of Fine Seegars. The first company shop had been opened on Bond Street that later became the center of the retail tobacco trade. After his Philip’s death his wife Margaret and brother Leopold took over the business expanding it slowly but steadily. Only fifty years after its founding, the company was incorporated in Canada and the US and appointed tobacconist for King Edward VII. The company, however, doesn’t rest on its laurels – it expands, merges with and buys American tobacco companies, opens new plants and even sponsors TV shows like I Love Lucy. The interesting fact is that Philip Morris’ most famous brand Marlboro was first introduced and advertised as a brand for women. When in 1955 the company introduced cork-tipped Marlboros in the flip-top box the supply couldn’t catch up with the demand for months. Only few short years later, Philip Morris launches its worldwide famous campaign “Marlboro Country” featuring the Marlboro Man. Philip Morris International has worked for many years to develop new tobacco products supplying the ceaseless demand, introducing new high quality brands.
Red & White
A Mild (Indonesia)
A Hijau (Indonesia)
Dji Sam Soe (Indonesia)
Morven Gold (Pakistan)
Best & Classic (Serbia)
Petra (Czech Republic)
British American Tobacco
The second largest cigarette manufacturer company is the British American Tobacco (BAT) founded over 100 years ago in 1902 by UK Imperial Tobacco Company and the American Tobacco Company (hence the name). Despite the name, BAT was established to trade outside both UK and US. The strategy of BAT’s first chairman James ‘Buck’ Duke, self-taught commercial genius, was to develop a high quality product, hire the best people for the job, price it as low as possible, and mechanize, organize and merchandise. Thanks to this strategy during the first decade of its existence BAT expended immensely. It even survives the 1929 Wall Street Crash due to its tobacco fields and manufacturing plants located worldwide. World War II and decolonization create turbulent times for BAT. The company loses its plants in China to the Japanese and European network is heavily disrupted but in the course of 20 post-war years manages to recover becoming one of the world tobacco manufacturing leaders.
Benson & Hedges
State Express 555
Belmont (Columbia, Chile and Venezuela)
Jockey Club (Argentina)
du Maurier (Canada)
North State (Finland)
Carrolls Kings (Germany)
Grand Parade (Germany)
Back Allen (Germany)
Sweet Afton (Ireland)
Gold Leaf (Pakistan)
Jan III Sobieski (Poland)
Yava Gold (Russia)
Courtliegh (South Africa)
Craven A (Vietnam and Jamaica)
Philip Morris USA
Philip Morris USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Altria Group Inc. PM USA is over 150 years old. Just like PMI it was founded by Philip Morris, Esq., who in 1847 opened a small tobacco shop on Bond Street selling ready-made cigarettes. Over the years the company grew, changed owners and in 1902 it was incorporated in New York. In the 1960s, PM was the smallest tobacco manufacturer in the US but in 1983 it became the biggest.
In 2009, PM USA enjoyed the retail share of 49.9%.
PM’s best-selling brands:
Benson & Hedges
RJ Reynolds is the second largest tobaco manufacturer in the US. It was founded in 1874 in Winston-Salem by R.J.Reynolds. To start his own tobacco company RJ sold his shares in his father’s company, moved to Winston-Salem (quite a large city with a railroad connection) and bought the first building for the future factory. In the first year of its existance RJR produced 150,000 pounds of tobacco. By 1890 the production volume was millions of pounds. Moreover, RJR had the largest and the most innovative tobacco company in Winston-Salem with steampower enegines and electricity.
At the beginning of the 20th century RJR bought out most of the competition producing 25% of chewing tobacco in America. The company also invested in its base-town and its employees building the whole neiborghood in Winston-Salem and selling the houses to company employees at cost value. In 1907 Prince Albert chewing tobacco became RJR’s showcase product leading to its aggressive (at that time) advertising campaign in Union Square, New York.
RJR’s most popular cigarettes was Camel introduced in 1913. A lot of time has passed since then, the company grew, evolved and launched new products. Now RJ Reynolds is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., 42% of which is owned by the British American Tobacco.
Imperial Tobacco Group is the fourth largest tobacco manufacturer and second largest UK-based tobacco company. Imperial was founded in 1901 when 13 British tobacco and cigarette companies joined together comprising a conglomerate named W.D & H.O Wills of Bristol.
In 1902 Imperial Tobacco and American Tobacco Company joined forces creating British American Tobacco (BAT). The parent companies agreed not to trade on each other’s domestic territory, assigned trademarks and export businesses to the joint venture. In 1911, however, the American Tobacco Company sold its share in BAT while the Imperial Tobacco held on to its part till 1980.
Besides tobacco business, Imperial is a very diversified company owning chain of restaurants, brewery, People’s drugstore, etc. But recently the company decided to focus on its core tobacco business so all other unrelated subsidiaries were divested. Now Imperial Tobacco is an independent tobacco manufacturer listed on the UK stock exchange.
In 2003 Imperial Tobacco purchased the Reemtsma Cigarettenfabriken GmbH of Germany (then the fourth largest tobacco company) adding such brands as Davidoff, Peter Sluyvesant and West to its list of products. In 2008 Imperial acquired Atladis (then the fifth largest tobacco company) with its brands Fortuna, Gauloises, Blondes and Gitanes.
Imperial Tobacco brands:
John Player Special (JPS)
Lambert & Butler – the UK’s best selling brand
Mark Fernyhough cigarettes
China National Tobacco Corporation
China National Tobacco Corporation is rather a monopoly in the People Republic of China which supplys tobacco products for about 30% of the world smokers. In China, which is less aware (justas any developing country) of health hazards posed by smoking, tobacco products are an accepted gift for every occasion, especially in the rural country areas.
China National Tobacco was founded in 1982 operating under State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA enforces tobacco monopoly in China). The company’s customer base consists of 350 million smokers who buy 1.7 trillion cigarettes annualy. However, since the larger part of the company’s clients reside in rural areas and don’t have means to buy expensive cigarettes, China National Tobacco produces primerily class D cigarettes.
Moreover, Chin National Tobacco manufactures, distributes, markets and sells all tobacco products in China. The company manufactures over 900 brands whereas Hongtashan is the most popular among them.
Lorillard Tobacco Company
Lorillard Tobacco Company is the oldest tobacco manufacturer in the United States. The company was founded in 1760 by Pierre Abaham Lorillard. By 1910 Lorillard was controlled by James Buchanan Duke and the American Tobacco Company. In 1911, however, US Court of Appeal issued a Dessolution Decree to the American Tobacco Company giving Lorillard the opportunity to be independent once again. The company grew taking a gian step forward with Benjamin Lloyd Belt as its president.
Currently Lorillard is the third largest tobacco manufacturer in the US.
Gallaher Group is the major Irish-based tobacco company. It was founded in 1857 by Tom Gallaher in Derry, Ireland and by 1896 owned the largest tobacco factory in the world. In 1896 the company was incorporated producing cigarettes, cigars, and snuff. In the early 20th century, Gallaher moved its cigarette producton to Belfast and cigar productio to Wales.
In the early 21st cetury Japan Tobacco became the sole owner of the Gallaher Group – the largest foreign acquisition in Japanese history. Currently, Gallaher operates mostly in the UK and Europe with muc smaller affiliates in Central Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Gallaher Group brands:
Benson & Hedges