BAT Shareholders on Thursday ratified a final dividend of Ksh30.00, bringing the total dividend for 2019 to Ksh33.50 per share.
During the AGM meeting held electronically due to COVID-19 restrictions, BAT Kenya also announced a Ksh 2.5bn investment in a modern oral nicotine factory aimed at reducing the health impact of its business. is evid
The factory is on track to open in Q3 2020 and will be a first of its kind in Africa, serving as a potential export hub for EAC partner states and beyond.
BAT Kenya’s Managing Director, Beverley Spencer-Obatoyinbo said the new factory will go a long way in supporting the government’s Big Four Agenda.
“With Kenya becoming a global innovation hub, the BAT Group-backed our vision to make Kenya the recipient of the Ksh2.5 billion investment in an oral nicotine factory. It was a very competitive process with other BAT Group companies putting forward their own business cases and seeking similar investments,” added Ms. Spencer
According to the Managing Director, the factory will increase the company’s manufacturing and exports footprint, reduce risk and in the process create more jobs.
“Despite this investment and strong business performance, BAT Kenya remains concerned by the impact of illicit trade in Kenya, where one in ten cigarettes now smoked is illegal. Unfortunately, the recent declines in the incidence of illicit cigarettes originating from Kenya have been almost entirely offset by the increase in the volume of tax-evaded cigarettes coming into Kenya across the Ugandan border, which by our estimate now accounts for approximately 90% of all tax-evaded cigarettes sold in Kenya, said Ms. Spencer.
These are predominantly cigarettes comprised of non-Kenyan tobacco leaves. The illegal sales are therefore adversely impacting, not just government revenues and local manufacturers, but also Kenyan tobacco farmers by impacting demand for Kenyan leaf.
“Tobacco taxes declined in 2019, despite a significant increase in excise duty. This confirms the reality that increased tobacco excise is no longer translating into increased government revenues in Kenya,” said Ms Spencer. Instead, it is increasing the incentive for smugglers to bring in duty-evaded product from neighboring
countries and for affordability-stretched consumers to purchase smuggled products,
“Kenya’s ratification of the WHO’s Illicit Trade Protocol (ITP) was an important step towards combatting the illicit trade, and we now urge the Kenyan authorities to increase border controls and enhance their cooperation with their Ugandan counterparts to stem the flow of these products into Kenya and stomp out the criminal tobacco trade. It’s also vital that our neighbours in the East Africa Community expedite ratification of the ITP.” BAT Kenya Chairman, George Maina said.
“Whilst sustainability has always been important to us, BAT Kenya’s evolved strategy places it front and centre in all that we do. Our commitment to reducing the health impacts of the business is supported by a wider sustainability agenda that prioritizes environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures,” he added.
“To date, BAT Kenya has maintained its status as a zero-waste manufacturer by achieving a 100% waste recycling rate. On the environmental front, we have already planted over 2 million trees in the first half of 2020, adding to the more than 50 million trees planted since 1978. BAT Kenya also remains as steadfast as ever in its commitment to Kenyan agriculture, partnering with approximately 4,300 local farmers to supply tobacco for its existing cigarette business. This is on top of over 80,000 trade and business partners and over 1,800 people employed directly or indirectly in Kenya,” he said.