British American Tobacco (Malaysia) is concerned by the high level of illegal cigarette trade in the country, which is said to form the main challenge to the licit tobacco industry in the short- and medium-term, according to a story in The New Straits Times.
Sales of illicit cigarettes had surpassed those of licit products, the company’s managing director Erik Stoel was quoted as saying.
Illicit cigarettes, which had accounted for 36.9 percent of total cigarette consumption in 2015, had captured a record 57.1 percent by December 2016.
And the outlook for 2017 was dependent on the outcome of the government’s initiatives to curb the illegal trade,” Stoel told reporters after BAT’s annual general meeting in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday.
But the company is nevertheless confident that it can weather these storms.
“The group has a long-standing legacy and presence within the Malaysian economic landscape,” Stoel said.
“While there are currently big challenges facing the tobacco industry, the group has in place a clear strategy and commitment to invest, to help the group navigate through these challenging times.”