BAT eyes Bulgarian bid

Kasmira Jefford
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BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO (BAT) is in ongoing talks to buy Bulgaria’s state-owned tobacco company, in a deal worth in the region of £100m.

The world’s second largest cigarette producer, whose brands include Dunhill and Lucky Strikes, is one of three companies that have so far submitted tender offers for Bulgartabac holding, which was put up for sale in April.

According to the country’s Privatization Agency, which is handling the sale, the two other firms vying for the 80 per cent stake are BT Invest, an investment fund backed by Russia’s second biggest bank VTB, and CB Family Office, a consultancy registered in Austria.

If BAT wins the bid, it would mark the firm’s second acquisition since Nicandro Durante took over as chief executive in March. In May, Durante announced the purchase of Protabaco, a Colombian cigarette producer, for £280m.

The deadline for submitting fully-funded bids is the end of August. The successful bidder is then likely to be announced the following month.