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Gov’t withdraws from tobacco investment

Gov’t withdraws from tobacco investment

The Government of Ethiopia has decided to transfer its last remaining 30 percent stake in the National Tobacco Enterprise to the Japanese tobacco giant Japan Tobacco International (JTI) at a total cost of 434 million dollar, The Reporter has learnt.

The deal will make JTI the principal shareholder over the Enterprise with 70 percent aggregate stake in the national tobacco company. The rest 29 percent stake is still owned by Sheba Group, a Yemeni company and longtime partner of the Ethiopian government on the tobacco business for many years.

It is to be recalled that just one year ago, JTI had managed to acquire 40 percent share of the Enterprise at cost of 510 million dollars.

The latest agreement which was signed today, December 21, 2017, between Girma Amente, Minister of Public Enterprise and JTI, increased the latter’s investments in Ethiopia’s tobacco industry close to one billion dollars. The signing ceremony was attended by officials and board of directors of the Enterprise from both sides.

By Dawit Endeshaw and Kaleyesus Bekele