Imperial Tobacco

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Imperial Tobacco is the fourth largest tobacco company in the world, by market share, after Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International. It is the world's largest supplier of hand rolling tobacco (HRT), cigarette papers and cigars.[1] The company has a presence in over 160 countries worldwide, operates 50 factories and employs 38,000 people.[2][3]

Globally, its strategic brands are Davidoff, Gauloises Blondes, West and JPS. [4]

In the UK, which the company calls an "important market", Imperial is the market leader in cigarettes, HRT and rolling papers. Its key brands are JPS, Lambert and Butler, Windsor Blue cigarettes and Golden Virgina HRT. [5]

Imperial says: "We believe that no cigarette is safe, and operate our business on the basis that smoking may cause human disease... We support tobacco regulation that is reasonable, proportionate and evidence based."[6]

PR and Lobbying Companies

Bell Pottinger provides lobbying services for Imperial in the UK and Brussels.[7] [8]

The lobbyist Arthur Butler is also reported to have worked for Imperial.[9]

PLCM Consultants also appears to have worked for the company.[10]

EU Lobbying

According to Imperial's entry in the EU lobbying transparency register, the company's head lobbyist for the EU is Istvan Komoroczki. Two other Imperial lobbyists are accredited with the European Parliament: Nikolaos Mertzanidis and Alessandro Tscirkov.

In the financial year 2010-2011, Imperial spent €200,000 - €250000 lobbying EU institutions.[11]

Corporate Political Advertising

In June 2012, Imperial Tobacco attempted to influence MPs views on the UK plain packaging debate by running an anti-plain packaging advertising campaign in The House magazine, a magazine designed for Parliamentarians. The fact that this advertising campaign was on behalf of Imperial Tobacco was not disclosed on the front cover advertisement.

Involvement in Smuggling

Plain Packaging

It's "not a Health Issue"

Like all the other tobacco manufacturers, Imperial Tobacco is against Plain Packaging. In the UK, the company's Chief Executive, Alison Cooper reiterates the classic industry / libertarian argument that plain packaging is "not just a tobacco issue any more, it’s about government’s role…[and] a precedent for other businesses in terms of this is where governments can go. This is not about a health issue at all. This is anti-business.” [12]

Secret Funding for Tobacco Campaign

Legal Action against Government

According to The Daily Mail’s subsidiary site This is Money, Imperial UK’s CEO, Alison Cooper told the Mail that in response to plain packaging legislation in the UK "Legal action is not our preferred route but we have been quite clear that we won’t rule it out."[13] Imperial Tobacco are already challenging the legality of standardised packaging legislation in Australia.

Refuses to Disclose if Funding Think Tanks

In May 2012, the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath asked Imperial if it would disclose which think tanks Imperial was funded and had funded over the last few years. The company replied that it did "not wish to participate in your research". [14]

Attacking an Academic

Targeting Women and Girls

Snus and the "Total Tobacco Approach"

Whereas some cigarette companies argue that recent investment in Snus is part of the industry's harm reduction strategy, Imperial Tobacco claims that its snus investment is part of the company's "total tobacco approach" (offering customers a wide range of tobacco products), helping it build long-term sustainable growth across the business.[15]

In September 2005, Imperial Tobacco acquired 43.5 per cent of shares in Swedish Skruf snus, taking full control in 2008.[16] The Skruf shares enabled Imperial to get a foothold in snus, but also provided access to Skruf’s comprehensive distribution infrastructure in Scandinavia.[17]

Imperial’s main snus market is Norway (13 per cent market share in 2009[18]), followed by Sweden (2.2 market share in 2009[19]).

The company produces two snus brands: Skruf (premium brand) and Knox (value brand), which is only available in Sweden.

Marcus Diemer, Imperial Tobacco’s General Manager for Central Europe North, said snus is a "sizeable, and highly profitable business, and less vulnerable to growing regulatory pressures".[20]


Its board of directors includes:[21]


Its senior management team includes:[22]


Imperial Tobacco is a member of:

It is a supporter of:

External Resources

Imperial Tobacco's website:

TobaccoTactics Resources


  1. Imperial Tobacco, 2011 Annual Report, 2011
  2. Imperial Tobacco, Corporate Fact File, 2010
  3. Imperial Tobacco, Market footprint, undated, accessed 20 February 2012
  4. Imperial Tobacco, Total Tobacco, Website, Accessed February 2012
  5. Imperial Tobacco, United Kingdom, Imperial's Website, Accessed February 2012
  6. Imperial Tobacco, Our views, undated, accessed 20 February 2012
  7. Pelham Bell Pottinger, Clients list, Pelham Bell Pottinger website, accessed 31 March 2012
  8. PRCA, Public Affairs Register – Agencies - September to November 2011, Imperial Tobacco, accessed March 2012. N.B. Bell Pottinger are members of the PR and Communication Association (PRCA) and they are registered on the PRCA lobbying register. Previously the Public Affairs Council (PAC) included the PRCA register, but since the PRCA have pulled out of the PAC, their members are only listed on the PRCA register now. The latest PRCA registers are here: Public Affairs register. The history is not as easy to find, as the Public Affairs Council register no long holds an entry on Bell Pottinger.
  9. Exclusively Independent website, Guest blog from Arthur Butler, 18 June 2010
  10. House of Commons, The UK Tobacco Industry and the Register of Members' Interests of the House of Commons, via Legacy Tobacco Documents website, 5 May 2000, accessed 24 January 2012
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 European Commission Transparency Register, Transparency Register, accessed 20 February 2012
  12. Christopher Thompson, Imperial head fumes over plain packaging, Financial Times, 7 May 2012
  13. City & Finance Reporter, Imperial Tobacco will take legal action against the Government if it implements plain packaging for cigarettes, The Daily Mail: This is Money, 15 July 2012, accessed July 2012
  14. Alex Parsons, Email to Tobacco Control Research Group, 25 May 2012
  15. Imperial Tobacco Annual Report 2010, accessed October 2011
  16. Euromonitor International, Smokeless Tobacco - Is it the Future of the Industry? April 2010, accessed October 2011
  17. Imperial Tobacco Annual Report 2005, accessed October 2011
  18. Euromonitor International, Euromonitor Tobacco Passport: Norway snus 2006-2009 by Global Brand Owner, Retail Volume, % breakdown, accessed October 2010
  19. Euromonitor International, Euromonitor Tobacco Passport: Sweden snus 2001-2009 by Global Brand Owner, Retail Volume, % breakdown, accessed October 2010
  20. Imperial Tobacco, Investor Day Presentation Transcript Marcus Diemer on Snus, 28 September 2010, accessed October 2010
  21. As of 4 November 2014 - see Imperial Tobacco, Board of Directors, undated, accessed 4 November 2014
  22. As of 4 November 2014 - see Imperial Tobacco, Operating Executive, undated, accessed 4 November 2014