Managing director Luc Badibanga said BAT Rwanda has been identified by the British American Tobacco (BAT) group for its position and added that the country was strategic for the long-term continuity of our business in the area. "Our unique geographical position makes the country an ideal hub for the expansion of the Group's distribution network. Rwanda has been identified as a launch pad into Burundi," he said.
During a press conference Badibanga added that the restructuring would also enlarge the company's portfolio with the introduction of renowned international brands starting this year.
As part of this change, BAT Rwanda will transfer cigarette production to the sister company BAT Kenya from Qthe second quarter of 2006: "BAT Kenya has been identified as a centre of excellence for manufacturing," Badibanga added. The move, he said, will allow the organisation to optimise resources in distribution and marketing.
The BAT Group embarked on a restructuring exercise of its operations late last year due to be completed this April that should see Uganda become one of its five key tobacco leaf sources alongside Brazil, Zimbabwe, India and Indonesia. Those changes have resulted into British American Tobacco Uganda (BATU) ceding manufacturing of cigarettes to British American Tobacco Kenya.
The business model is now aligned to the integration of British American Tobacco into an East African Business Unit, at a time when Rwanda and Burundi are joining the East African Community (EAC). This move means both Uganda and Rwanda will give up manufacturing of cigarettes to the Kenyan company and concentrate instead on leaf growing, processing, tobacco exports and marketing and distribution of cigarettes respectively. (pi)