Benson & Hedges manufacturer to cut 2,300 jobs worldwide

Benson & Hedges manufacturer to cut 2,300 jobs worldwide

Around 2,300 jobs are being cut worldwide at British American Tobacco amid a group overhaul to invest in vaping and new products.

The Benson & Hedges and Lucky Strike cigarette-maker said the jobs are largely set to go by January and will focus on management, with more than 20% of senior roles in the group being affected.

British American Tobacco (BAT) – which employs more than 55,000 people globally – declined to give a breakdown of where the jobs will go.

It operates across more than 200 markets worldwide, but the UK is one of the smaller ones.

FTSE 100-listed BAT employs nearly 2,500 staff in the UK, with its group headquarters in London and a research and development operation and office in Southampton.

A programme of this significance involves decisions that will be difficult for our people, but ultimately it is the right thing for our business

BAT said the cuts will allow it to deliver savings to reinvest in new categories such as vapour, tobacco heating products and oral tobacco as smokers turn their backs on traditional cigarettes.

It wants to make €5.5bn (£5bn) of sales from these new high-growth products by 2023-24.

Among its plans, BAT will reduce management layers, trim its business units and simplify its key business processes.

It is now consulting with affected staff.

BAT chief executive Jack Bowles, who took on the top job five months ago, insisted the overhaul is the “right thing for our business”.

He said: “My goal is to oversee a step-change in new category growth and significantly simplify our current ways of working and business processes whilst delivering long-term sustainable returns for our shareholders.

“This is a vital first move to help achieve these goals.”

He added: “A programme of this significance involves decisions that will be difficult for our people, but ultimately it is the right thing for our business.”

It comes as cigarette sales continue to plunge in major markets, while US President Donald Trump has also pledged to clamp down on flavoured e-cigarettes amid fears they are encouraging children to vape.

- Press Association

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