Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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British American Tobacco

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August 1928.

The company was established in 1902, when the United Kingdom's Imperial Tobacco Co and the American Tobacco Company of the USA agreed to form a joint venture, the British-American Tobacco Company Ltd. The parent companies agreed not to trade in each other's domestic territory and to assign trademarks, export businesses and overseas subsidiaries to the joint venture. James 'Buck' Duke became its chairman. The British American Tobacco business thus began life in countries as diverse as Canada, China, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, but not in the United Kingdom or USA.

In 1911 the American Tobacco Company sold its share of the company.

Imperial Tobacco gradually reduced its shareholding, but it was not until 1980 that it divested its remaining interests in the company.

Post-WWII Loss of major overseas markets, such as China, and opposition to smoking on health grounds led to a need for diversification of the business.

1961 BAT sold Wiggins, Teape and Co, paper manufacturer. some of its overseas paper interests

1962 BAT increased its stake to 30 percent stake of Wiggins, Teape and Co [1]

1964 Acquired Tonibell ice cream

1970 BAT acquired full control of Wiggins, Teape and Co[2]

By 1976 British American Cosmetics owned Yardley, Lenthéric fragrances, Morny, Germaine Monteil; acquired Juvena of Switzerland[3]

1976 The diversity of interests led to a change of name to BAT Industries.

Acquired International Stores

1979 Took full control of Mardon Packaging International

1982 Acquired Marshall Field, US owner of department store chains[4]

1984 BAT Industries acquired Eagle Star Insurance Co, a first step into financial services[5]

1986 Sold Grovewood Securities, the industrial conglomerate owned by BAT to Wolseley Hughes, except for a few parts of that business[6]

1997 BAT Industries financial services division would merge with Zurich Insurance to form Allied Zurich; BAT Industries would concentrate on tobacco[7]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Nov. 17, 1962
  2. The Times May 21, 1970
  3. The Times Oct. 13, 1976
  4. The Times Mar. 17, 1982
  5. The Times Apr. 19, 1984
  6. The Times Mar. 5, 1986
  7. the Times Dec. 15, 1997