Nigerian Watchdog Hits British American Tobacco With Record $110M Fine Over Alleged Market Abuse

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Wednesday, the Nigerian Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) imposed a $110 million fine on British American Tobacco Industries Plc (NYSE:BTI) due to infringement of competition laws/regulations and tobacco control efforts. 

The penalty stems from a probe into BAT's practices, including allegations of impeding competitors and breaching public health controls.

The fine is the highest ever levied by the Nigerian Competition Commission. FCCPC Chief Executive Babatunde Irukera told Reuters that the fine is a "consent order," equivalent to a plea bargain and not subject to appeal.

Also Read: Beyond The Smoke: Evaluating British American Tobacco Resilience As Industry Shifts.

The FCCPC initiated the inquiry in August 2020, securing a federal court order to search multiple BAT sites and service providers for evidence. 

Subsequent analysis of gathered evidence confirmed multiple violations of competition laws, as per the report. 

The commission will closely monitor BAT's conduct for 24 months, ensuring compliance with competition regulations and tobacco control measures.

Earlier this month, British American Tobacco reported a pre-close trading update and expects to incur an accounting non-cash adjusting impairment charge relating to some U.S. cigarette brands of around £25 billion ($31.50 billion).

For 2023, the company expects organic revenue to be at the lower end of its guidance range at constant rates of 3%-5%.

Price Action: BTI shares are up 0.24% at $29.30 during the premarket session on the last check Friday.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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