BAT Kenya has announced plans to invest Sh1.4 billion in its local operations, as it seeks to position the country as the key source of tobacco for its export markets. The cigarette manufacturer plans to also reinvest the amount on streamlining its sales network and factory operations in Nairobi and Thika. The move by the firm comes at a time when key markets such as Egypt and South Sudan are undergoing serious political turmoil. BAT Managing Director Chris Burrel says that the funding of its operations will transform the Kenyan business into a true global trading centre for other markets where political unrest has affected business. The new investments also follow a decision by the BAT group to consolidate its East Africa leaf operations that led to the migration of Uganda’s leaf processing to Kenya’s Thika Green Leaf Threshing plant. 

“As a result, Thika’s throughput increased by 51 per cent,” Burrel said last week on the sidelines of the BAT Kenyas 62nd Annual General Meeting, where directors announced a final dividend of Sh33.50 per Sh10 ordinary, giving a total divided of Sh37 per share inclusive of the interim dividend already paid.