Imperial Brands are responsible for Winston, Kool and Gauloises cigarettes and have been tardy in getting involved in new technologies when compared to other Big T companies. In fact, the company is on record as previously stating it wouldn’t get involved in heat-not-burn.
This changed as soon as investors and market analysts saw their half-year results.
Alicia Forry, an Investec analyst, said: "Given continued market scepticism around Imperial's trading performance and relative lack of presence in some next generation product segments, the [Final Year 2017] update should reassure. We think Imperial, if it so wished, could launch a heat-not-burn product within one year and at an easily manageable cost "
It may be a surprise to some to discover that a tobacco firm has resolutely clung to its traditional (albeit declining) markets. For those pondering the current state of the vaping market, Go Smoke Free has released findings from a recent study.
In their press release, the company states: “With the UK e-cigarette market set to grow to $5.67bn by 2021, it comes as no surprise that tobacco brands want to get a piece of the action. Go Smoke Free has taken a closer look at 73 leading e-cigarette brands to find out who really owns them.”
“We found that the key players in the tobacco industry owned subsidiaries than then owned the following nine major e-cigarette brands:
- VIP, Vapestick, 10 Motives and Vype: Owned by subsidiary company Nicoventures Holdings, which is in turn owned by British American Tobacco
- Socialites: Owned by Stada UK Holdings, which is owned by Stada Arzneimittel AG
- V2Cigs/Vapour2 UK: Owned by VMR Products, which is owned by Huabao”
But despite this, 80% of the vaping brands remain independently owned. Could a shift in focus from vaping to heat-not-burn be enough to ensure we get to keep our loved independents? Time will tell.