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'Killer' tobacco companies that are making billions

Last updated on: May 31, 2012 14:03 IST

'Killer' tobacco companies that are making billions

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The World Health Organisation estimates that tobacco caused 5.4 million deaths in 2004 and 100 million deaths over the course of the 20th century.

Similarly, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes tobacco use as "the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide".

While rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in the developed world, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4 per cent per year in the developing world.

NOTEThe companies are not ranked in any particular order

Let's take a look at the biggest tobacco companies around the world.

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Image: WHO says millions die every year due to tobacco consumption.
Photographs: Beawiharta Beawiharta/Reuters

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Philip Morris

Revenue: $31.1 billion (2011)

Philip Morris International is an international cigarette and tobacco company, with products sold in over 160 countries with 15.6 per cent of the international cigarette market outside the United States.

Because tobacco, the main constituent of cigarettes, is considered the single greatest cause of preventable death globally and is considered addictive, the company's operations (and its competitors) are highly controversial and are increasingly the subject of litigation and restrictive legislation from governments concerned about the health impacts of its products.

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Image: People walk past near an anti-tobacco installation in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Photographs: Pablo La Rosa/Reuters

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Until a spin-off in March 2008, Philip Morris International was an operating company of Altria Group. Altria explained the spin-off, arguing PMI would have more "freedom" outside the constraints of US corporate ownership in terms of potential litigation and legislative restrictions to "pursue sales growth in emerging markets".

The shareholders in Altria at the time were given shares in PMI, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange and other markets.

The company is headquartered in New York City, but operates through its operational headquarters in Switzerland and does not operate in the United States, with Philip Morris brands there still owned by PMI's former owner Altria.

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Image: An Indonesian cigarette vendor displays cartons of Marlboro cigarettes in Jakarta.
Photographs: Beawiharta Beawiharta/Reuters

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'Killer' tobacco companies that are making billions

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RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company

Revenue: $8.54 billion (2011)

The RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and founded by RJ Reynolds in 1875, is the second-largest tobacco company in the US (behind Altria Group).

RJR is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. which in turn is 42 per cent owned by British American Tobacco of the United Kingdom.

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Image: RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company is the second-largest tobacco company in the US.
Photographs: Jeff Christensen/Reuters

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RJ Reynolds brands include Camel, Kool, Winston, Salem, Doral, Eclipse,and Pall Mall. Brands still manufactured but no longer receiving significant marketing support include Barclay, Belair, Capri, Carlton, GPC, Lucky Strike, Misty, Monarch, More, Now, Tareyton, Vantage, and Viceroy.

The company also manufactures certain private-label brands.

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Image: RJ Reynolds brands include Camel, Kool, Winston, Salem, etc.
Photographs: Chris Helgren/Reuters

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'Killer' tobacco companies that are making billions

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British American Tobacco

Revenue: $28 billion (2011)

British American Tobacco is a British multinational tobacco company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's second-largest quoted tobacco company by market share (after Philip Morris International), and has a leading position in over 50 countries and operations in more than 180 countries.

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Image: It is the world
Photographs: Kevin Coombs/Reuters

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BAT has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. As of 26 December 2011, it had a market capitalisation of 59.2 billion pound, the sixth-largest of any company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

It has a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

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Image: It had a market capitalisation of 59.2 billion pound.
Photographs: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

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Japan Tobacco Inc

Revenue: $7.47 billion (2011)

Japan Tobacco Inc is a cigarette manufacturing company. It is part of the Nikkei 225 index. In 2009, the company was listed at number 312 on the Fortune 500 list.

The company is headquartered in Toranomon, Minato, Tokyo. The international headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Image: In 2009, the company was listed at number 312 on the Fortune 500 list.
Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters

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In 2011, JTI employed about 25,000 people around the world at 90 offices, 24 factories (producing cigarettes), six research and development centers and five tobacco processing facilities.

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Image: In 2011, JTI employed about 25,000 people around the world at 90 offices.
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Tags: JTI , OKiller

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Gallaher Group

Revenue: $12 billion (2006)

Gallaher Group is a major United Kingdom-based multinational tobacco company. It was traded on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index, prior to its April 2007 acquisition by Japan Tobacco.

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Image: It is a major United Kingdom-based multinational tobacco company.
Photographs: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

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The business was originally founded in 1857 by Tom Gallaher in Derry, Ireland.[1] By 1896, he had opened the largest tobacco factory in the world in Belfast.

The business was incorporated on 28 March 1896 to "carry on in all their branches the businesses of tobacco, cigar, cigarettes and snuff manufacture".

Formerly produced in London and Dublin, Gallagher's moved its production to Belfast (cigarettes) and Wales (cigars) in the early 20th century.

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Image: The business was originally founded in 1857.
Photographs: Daniel Munoz/Reuters

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Altadis

Revenue: $8 billion (2006)

Altadis is a multinational manufacturer of cigarettes, tobacco and cigars. Altadis was formed via a 1999 merger between Tabacalera, the former Spanish tobacco monopoly and SEITA, the former French tobacco monopoly.

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Image: Altadis was formed via a 1999 merger.
Photographs: Toru Hanai/Reuters

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Through its international holdings, including ownership of the former Consolidated Cigar Corporation, and half ownership of the Cuban state tobacco monopoly, Habanos, Altadis is today a major producer of mass market and premium cigars in the world, as well as the fourth-largest producer of tobacco products.

The company was acquired by the British tobacco giant Imperial Tobacco in 2008.

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Image: Altadis is today a major producer of mass market and premium cigars in the world.
Photographs: Paolo Bona/Reuters

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Imperial Tobacco Group

revenue: $30 billion (2011)

Imperial Tobacco is a British multinational tobacco company headquartered in Bristol, United Kingdom. It is the world's fourth-largest cigarette company measured by market share (after Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco), and the world's largest producer of cigars, fine-cut tobacco and tobacco papers.

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Image: It is the world's fourth-largest cigarette company.
Photographs: Daniel Munoz/Reuters

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Imperial Tobacco produces over 320 billion cigarettes per year, has 51 factories worldwide and its products are sold in over 160 countries.

Its brands include Davidoff, West, Gauloises Blondes, Montecristo, Drum (the world's second-largest-selling fine-cut tobacco) and Rizla (the world's best-selling rolling paper).


Image: Imperial Tobacco produces over 320 billion cigarettes per year.
Photographs: Rogan Ward/Reuters

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