After NGO controversy, tobacco giant Philip Morris International won the ownership to biotech firm Vectura.
LONDON — Tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) has reportedly taken control of the United Kingdom-based medicinal inhaler maker Vectura Group plc.
The cigarette maker said in a recent statement that it has secured about 75 percent of Vectura’s shares. That makes PMI the majority shareholder.
According to CNN Business online, 45 percent of the minority shareholders accepted the takeover as PMI also purchased 29 percent of the shares through open market trading.
“We look forward to working with Vectura’s scientists and providing them with the resources and expertise to grow their business to help us achieve our goal of generating at least USD 1 billion in net revenues from ‘Beyond Nicotine’ products by 2025,” said Jacek Olczak, the chief executive officer of Philip Morris International, in a statement.
Philip Morris International announced earlier this year that it intends to boost the company’s efforts to move away from cigarettes towards generating more than half of annual net revenue from smoke-free recreational products like e-cigarettes and the development respiratory drugs within four years of the plan. PMI sells cigarettes in more than 175 markets around the world, making it still the largest cigarette maker globally.
Vectura has been used in producing medicines for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline.
Critics of the acquisition claim that PMI is taking on the business of Vectura not for public interest, but for more profit from their nicotine and tobacco products.
“We think it clear that this deal is not in the public interest and that it creates perverse incentives for [Philip Morris International] to increase harm through smoking so they might then profit again through treating smoking related diseases,” writes a coalition of public health and tobacco control charities, including the British Lung Foundation and Cancer Research UK, in a letter to UK health minister Jo Churchill MP.
This is a developing story.