We work with thousands of tobacco farmers worldwide We are the world’s second largest quoted tobacco group by global market share, with brands sold in more than 180 markets. With more than 250 brands in our portfolio, we make the cigarette chosen by one in eight of the world’s one billion adult smokers.
We hold robust market positions in each of our regions and have leadership in more than 50 markets. In 2009, our subsidiaries enabled governments worldwide to gather more than £26 billion a year in taxes, including excise duty on our products, almost nine times the Group’s profit after tax. We have sustained a significant global presence for over 100 years. Our business was founded in 1902 and by 1912 had become one of the world’s top dozen companies by market capitalisation.
People and factories Our subsidiary companies produce some 724 billion cigarettes through 50 cigarette factories in 41 countries. Five of these plus one separate plant also make either cigarillos, roll your own or pipe tobacco. We also have a factory making smokeless snus. We employ more than 60,000 people worldwide. Our workforce is strongly multi-cultural and we have a devolved structure, with each local company having wide freedom of action and responsibility for its operations. Decisions are made as close as possible to the local stakeholders of each business, within a framework of principles, standards, policies, strategies and delegated authorities.
We believe that because our products pose risks to health, it is all the more important that our business is managed responsibly. Responsibility is integral to our strategy and through dialogue with our stakeholders, we are working to pursue our commercial objectives in ways consistent with changing expectations of a modern tobacco business.
We are the only international tobacco group with a significant interest in tobacco leaf growing, working with thousands of farmers internationally. Our companies run leaf programmes providing direct agronomy support to farmers if it is not otherwise available, covering all aspects of crop production and environmental best practice – in 2009 our companies ran these in 19 countries. The Group purchased approximately 400,000 tonnes of leaf in 2009, grown by more than 250,000 farmers, about 80 per cent of it by volume coming from farmers and suppliers in emerging economies.