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Cigarette giant finds a Match

PHILIP Morris International Inc has agreed to buy Swedish Match AB's South African operations for 1.75 billion South African rand, or roughly US$222 million, it said yesterday.

Swedish Match South Africa Ltd reported sales of 687 million South African rand last year. Its brands include Boxer, Best Blend and Taxi.

Philip Morris estimates Swedish Match South Africa's pipe tobacco and snuff products represent about 31 percent of total tobacco consumption in South Africa.

As demand for cigarettes falls, Philip Morris and other tobacco companies have focused on smokeless tobacco products and international markets to replace lost revenue.

In February, Philip Morris announced a 50-50 joint venture with Swedish Match to make and sell smokeless products such as snus - teabag-like pouches users stick between their cheek and gum.


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