British American Tobacco Uganda has asked the government to lift a ban on e-cigarettes as it seeks growth opportunities in a tough business environment.
“We are in talks with the regulator of the tobacco industry to see if the law can be reviewed,” Mathu Kiunjuri, the managing director of BAT Uganda, said at a briefing at the Uganda Securities Exchange on Tuesday.
BAT Uganda reported growth for the full year ending December 31, 2019, which the company says was largely driven by cigarette price increase.
The tobacco firm posted a net profit of Ush15.68 billion ($4.27million) up from Ush13.74 billion ($3.7 million) in 2018.
Return on equity improved to 35.71 per cent from 33.86 per cent growth recorded in the previous year, and return on assets dropped slightly to 23.07 per cent, from 23.43 per cent in 2018.
As a result of the solid performance, the company announced its highest divided ever at Ush320 ($8) per share.
While the size of Uganda’s electronic cigarette market remains unknown, global projections show it has been growing as it appeals to youth and adults running away from the traditional cigarettes following anti-tobacco campaigns.
The notion that the e-cigarettes are not as harmful as the traditional ones is driving its market growth, with projections that the market size is set to grow to $58.32 billion by 2026, a 22.5 per cent rise from $9.39 billion in 2017.
BAT Uganda says the tough tobacco regulatory environment has curtailed innovations and the introduction of new products needed to drive revenue growth.