• Bloomberg


Japan Tobacco Inc. will pay $450 million for a cigarette maker that operates in Sudan and oil-rich South Sudan, which gained independence this month after a rebellion that lasted almost 50 years.

Haggar Cigarette & Tobacco Factory Ltd. controls 80 percent of the market in Sudan and is also “well established” in South Sudan, JT said in a statement. The purchase values the maker of Bringi cigarettes at 9.9 times last year’s underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, Japan Tobacco said.

Japan Tobacco, the world’s third-largest publicly traded cigarette maker, is increasing its sales overseas as an aging population and a higher cigarette tax damp demand at home. The maker of Mild Seven, Camel and Winston cigarettes Friday said profit may increase 11 percent this fiscal year after raising prices in Russia and other markets abroad.

“This acquisition is positive because it shows the company is eager to grow overseas,” Mikihiko Yamato, a Tokyo-based analyst at Japan Invest K.K., said by phone. “Of course, the company prefers making acquisitions in Asia, but it is difficult to find candidates in the region.”

Japan Tobacco gained 1.35 percent to ¥337,500 at Thursday’s 3 p.m. close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange before the company announced the acquisition and released its earnings results. The stock has gained 12 percent this year, compared with a 5.6 percent drop in the broader Topix index.

The purchase of Haggar, which sold 4.5 billion cigarettes in Sudan last year, will be funded with existing funds and loans, Japan Tobacco said, without providing more details.

“Africa is a very energetic and growing market,” Akira Saeki, an executive vice president for Japan Tobacco, said in Tokyo on Friday. “Gaining a foothold there is a very significant step.”

Japan Tobacco is paying a lower premium than was paid in similar deals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The median price-to-Ebitda ratio of 10 acquisitions in the industry over the past five years was 13.5, the data show.

The ratio of 9.9 times Ebitda that Japan Tobacco said it is paying for Haggar is lower than the multiple of 13.7 it paid for Gallaher Group PLC in 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. JT paid £7.5 billion for the maker of LD, excluding debt, the data show.

Japan Tobacco is buying the Sudan cigarette maker from its parent, Haggar Holding Co. Ltd., according to the statement.

Net income for JT may total ¥161 billion ($2.1 billion) in the 12 months ending March 31, compared with ¥145 billion a year earlier, it said in a statement Friday.

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