Japan Tobacco : advertising & marketing assignments

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Japan Tobacco is one of the world's three major international cigarette companies, alongside PMI, British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco. Global share is around 19%, but JT dominates its domestic market with almost 62% share, almost half of that from lead brand Mevius (formerly Mild Seven), the domestic top seller for over 30 years. Other domestic brands include Seven Stars and Pianissimo. It launched its first heat-not-burn smokeless tobacco device in Japan in 2017, Ploom. Other key markets include the UK (where it has around 41% local share), Russia (almost 36%), Taiwan, Spain, Italy and France. Japan Tobacco also has a broad international footprint following its acquisition of Camel and Winston in all territories except the US in 1999, and of British group Gallaher in 2006, adding brands including Sterling, Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut and Amber Leaf. The group also owns the E-Lites and Logic e-cigarette brands in the US and Europe. It acquired non-US rights to Reynolds' Natural American Spirit organic tobacco brand in 2016. Other important brands include LD and Glamour in Russia and luxury cigarette Sobranie. Total volumes were 510bn cigarettes in 2018. Winston alone accounted for almost 147bn units, Camel for 71bn and Mevius for 69bn. Until recently, the company was also a leading manufacturer in its domestic market of soft drinks (including Roots canned coffee). It sold that business to Suntory in 2015. It retains a small but significant pharmaceutical division, which has co-marketing partnerships with several international companies, as well as a division marketing frozen noodles, rice and other foods in Japan. Revenues for 2018 were approximately $20.1bn, with net profit of $3.5bn. International tobacco accounted for sales of around $11.9bn, and domestic tobacco for $5.6bn. Masamichi Terabatake is group CEO; Eddy Pirad is CEO of Japan Tobacco International. The Japanese government is JT's biggest shareholder with 37% of equity.

Capsule checked 26th July 2019

Who are the competitors of Japan Tobacco? See Tobacco Sector index for other companies. 

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Sept 2015: US tobacco group Reynolds American sold international rights to its organic and additive-free cigarette brand Natural American Spirit to Japan Tobacco for a whopping $5bn, around eight times current US revenues. JT already owns international rights to other Reynolds brands such as Camel and Winston, which it acquired in 1999. In the US, American Spirit is now one of the top 10 tobacco brands by volume.

Adbrands Weekly Update 28th May 2015: The main focus for Japanese drinks group Suntory in recent months has been international expansion, but it has kept a close eye on its domestic market as well, where it remains one of the leaders in soft drinks (as well as spirits). This week it strengthened its position with a deal to acquire the soft drinks arm of Japan Tobacco for around $1.25bn. Its drinks portfolio is small, comprising just Roots coffee and Momo no Tennensui bottled water, but JT also currently controls the third largest network of vending machines, the main point of sale for soft drinks in Japan. Following the deal, Suntory will control around 750k machines in total, closing the gap with market leader Coca-Cola, which has 980k machines. Other companies, such as Asahi, Kirin and DyDo Drinco each have between 250k and 280k machines.


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