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Philip Morris sues BAT

01 Apr 2018. The national division of Philip Morris is taking its British American Tobacco counterpart to the High Court over unfair trading practices, Radio New Zealand (RNZ) reported.

Philip Morris New Zealand is claiming British American Tobacco New Zealand breached the Commerce Act by using unlawful trading methods that restrict the availability of competitor products, according to the broadcaster, who cited a redacted press release sent to the media site Scoop, and an un-redacted copy reportedly leaked days later.

In the latter press release, Philip Morris alleged that BAT had offered cash incentives to tobacco retailer for promoting its brands above others. According to Philip Morris, this included retailers giving BAT brands certain display positions and providing information on which competitor brands they stock, and BAT would also send 'spot-checkers' to ensure retailers were complying, RNZ said.

BAT said it was confident it had not breached the law and would defend its position in court, RNZ said.