Acquisition by Rothmans International of the Burrus Group Acquisition par Rothmans International du Groupe Burrus Uebernahme der Burrus Gruppe durch Rothmans International

28 JUN 1996

Agreement has been reached for the acquisition by Rothmans International of 100% of the Burrus tobacco interests from the family owners. The contract was signed and completed on 27th June, 1996.

The Burrus Group was founded by family members in 1814. The company is based in Boncourt in the Canton of Jura, Switzerland, where it has manufacturing facilities. Its commercial activities are centralised in Lausanne. It has a 22% market share of the Swiss domestic market where it manufactures and sells a number of well-known brands including their own Parisienne and Select, as well as Gauloises and West which are manufactured and distributed under licence. It also supplies and has interests in a number of export markets. In its last financial year to 31st December 1995, the Burrus Group recorded invoiced sales (inclusive of production tax) amounting to 525 million Swiss francs.

Rothmans International is the Dutch holding company for the tobacco interests of Compagnie Financière Richemont AG, a publicly quoted Swiss company. Richemont’s business interests include substantial Swiss based manufacture and distribution of watches and other luxury products. Richemont owns 66.7% of Rothmans International and Rembrandt Group Limited of South Africa holds the remaining 33.3% interest. Rothmans International’s wholly owned Swiss subsidiary, Sullana AG, was originally established in 1916 and manufactures and supplies a number of well-known international brands to the domestic market, including Dunhill, Peter Stuyvesant, Rothmans, Cartier and Vogue. It also manufactures for export markets.

It is intended to integrate the two businesses in due course, but initially they will retain their separate business activities and trading styles.

Commenting on the transaction, Mr C. Burrus, Chairman of the Burrus Group, said: "After 182 years of deep dedication to their family owned tobacco company, the Burrus family consider that it is the right time to step aside in order to facilitate the further development of the Burrus Group.

The Rothmans International group of companies, with its worldwide influence, and its proven skill to manage multi-cultural organisations is now in charge. We are proud of the past and we are now even more confident in the future of the company."

Mr W.P. Ryan, Chief Executive of Rothmans International, said: "We are delighted to have acquired this successful business with growing brands which will strengthen the group’s competitive position in this important market and provide a platform for future growth."