BAT Malaysia expects level of illegal cigarettes in country to remain high

BAT Malaysia expects level of illegal cigarettes in country to remain high
-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR (April 23): British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd (BAT Malaysia) expects the level of illegal cigarettes in Malaysia to remain high as many consumers face financial pressures due to the Covid-19 pandemic and cannot afford to buy legal cigarettes.

In a statement yesterday, BAT Malaysia managing director Jonathan Reed said as the second half of 2021 (2H21) approaches, the tobacco black market problem is far from being resolved.

“The range of measures announced in Budget 2021 to curtail the tobacco black market is a good start. However, the government must remain focused on its efforts to stop the black market to fund the economic recovery.”

“It is critical that the Malaysian government expands the tax framework for vape products to include vape e-liquids with nicotine, which make up 97% of the market, so consumers can access alternative products of known quality. We will continue to support and encourage clear and practical regulations in relation to nicotine vaping by the Malaysian government,” he said.

Meanwhile, Reed said the financial year ended Dec 31, 2020 (FY20) was a turnaround year for BAT Malaysia despite difficult operating conditions.

“Our volume, profit, net turnover and share all grew in the three closing quarters of the year, providing us with a great platform to go back to growth,” he said.

For FY20, BAT Malaysia's net profit fell to RM241.84 million from RM346.69 million on the back of a lower revenue of RM2.32 billion versus RM2.51 billion previously.