UK tobacco giant to slash dozens in corp affairs unit

The UK's largest tobacco firm, Imperial Tobacco, is to axe 37 jobs in corporate affairs following the acquisition of Germany rival Reemstma Cigarettenfabriken.

The firm has confirmed the job losses will be among 800 out of its 18,000 workforce.

Although the number of job losses in corporate affairs has been agreed, which exact staff are to lose their jobs will not be known until the outcome of a consultation exercise with staff and works councils across Europe.

The streamlined corporate affairs function, which consists of PR, public and regulatory affairs as well as scientific and technical staff, will be based at Imperial Tobacco's Bristol headquarters.

According to a company statement certain scientific and IT roles will be based in Hamburg, the former HQ of Reemtsa.

Corporate affairs will be one of five divisions - finance, HR, manufacturing and sales and marketing, the last of which is to have a new global HQ in Slough.

Imperial CEO Gareth Davis said in a statement: 'It is inevitable this restructuring will result in some job losses. However, we are an organisation with a record of successful acquisition integration and we have the experience to manage these change processes fairly and responsibly.'

Corporate affairs is led by director Frank Rogerson, and group comms manager Liz Buckingham.

Financial PR is handled by Brunswick. Buckingham said the restructure does not affect the firm's relationships with its external agencies.

Imperial's brands include Lambert & Butler, the biggest seller in the UK, Rizla, Embassy, Superkings and Golden Virginia.

The £3.2bn acquisition of Reemtsma has doubled the size of Imperial, and makes it the world's fourth largest tobacco company.

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