New appointment and a slump in 4Q profit, revenue at BAT Malaysia

BRITISH American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd announced in a Bursa filing that it has appointed Jonathan Darlow Reed as its managing director from April 1. He was previously a director of the company.

Reed will replace the current managing director Hendrik Stoel, who has opted for early retirement at 51 with effective March 31.

The company has appointed Reed as non-independent and non-executive director effective Feb 20.

Meanwhile, BAT Malaysia recorded a slide in quarterly net profit from US$114.84 mil (RM480.26 mil) to US$93.86 mil for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2019.

Quarterly revenue fell to US$662.45mil, the company said in a Bursa filing.

It reported that the total legal industry volume had declined by 10% against the same period last year. This was primarily attributed to the booming illegal cigarette trade that currently makes up 63% of the total industry volume, rising rapidly from 33.5% in 2015.

Stoel said, “The numbers clearly speak for themselves. Although there was an uptick in enforcement actions over the year, the inconsistent efforts proved insufficient to dent the ultra-high levels of illegal cigarettes and did not translate into volume recovery for legal cigarettes.

“We anticipate that this will continue to negatively impact BAT Malaysia’s financial performance, punishing our shareholders and the investment community.

“The company’s financial results could be worse if not for the hard calls the Board and the leadership team had to make to rationalise investments and aggressively cut operating cost.

“We had to reduce headcount, restructure the way we work and free up enough resources to allow us some breathing space as we operate in an untenable environment where 7 out of 10 products belong to the black economy.” – Feb 20, 2020

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