Tobacco Co. to Build Cigarette Plant
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - British American Tobacco, the world's No. 2 cigarette maker, said Wednesday it will build a cigarette manufacturing plant in South Korea.
The London-based British-U.S. joint venture is the first foreign cigarette maker to invest in South Korea after the government abandoned its decades-old monopoly on tobacco manufacturing, effective July 1.
Until last month, cigarette manufacturing in South Korea had been monopolized by the state-run Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corp.
BAT, which sells brands like Kent and Kool, plans to invest $82 million to build the factory capable of producing 400 million packs a year by 2003 in Sacheon City on the central south coast.
``We always wanted to put down roots, commit to society and to give something back to the Korean people,'' John Taylor, president of BAT Korea said in a release.
South Korea's cigarette market totals about 5 billion packs a year. The country opened its cigarette market in 1988 and foreign imports had a market share of 14.6 percent last year.
About 30 percent of South Korea's 46 million people smoke an average of one pack a day, according to government statistics.