British American Tobacco to pay $110m fine in Nigeria antitrust probe
British American Tobacco Plc's Nigerian units have been fined $110 million by the country's antitrust agency, the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission. The fine follows a three-year investigation into the practices of the Lucky Strike maker, revealing violations of competition laws.
The investigation found that the tobacco company penalized retailers who provided equal visibility in stores to rival brands. As part of the resolution, BAT has agreed to pay the $110 million fine.
Additionally, the company will be subject to monitoring by the commission for two years, ensuring the implementation of appropriate behavioral and business practice modifications. This enforcement action reflects the Nigerian government's commitment to maintaining fair competition within the market and protecting consumers' interests.
Shares of BAT showed little change in London on Thursday morning following the news. The investigation by the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in Nigeria was mentioned in the company's 2022 annual report. A spokesperson for British American Tobacco (Nigeria) Ltd. stated in a response to Bloomberg that BAT Nigeria acknowledges the monitorship and awareness campaigns mentioned in the investigation. The company has fully cooperated with the FCCPC's appointed service providers. Notably, one in ten Nigerians reportedly smoke daily, making the nation home to the highest number of smokers in Africa, according to research published by BMC Public Health. This context adds significance to regulatory scrutiny and awareness campaigns related to tobacco-related practices.