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British Cigarette Maker Extinguishes 'Tobacco' from Name

Dec. 15, 2015
The maker of Winston and Kool cigarettes will be known as Imperial Brands beginning early next year.

Imperial Tobacco Group on Tuesday said it was dropping part of its name--the tobacco bit--ahead of a government clampdown on cigarette branding.

The British maker of Davidoff and Winston cigarettes will be known as Imperial Brands from early next year.

The announcement was made less than a week after Imperial Tobacco and four other sector giants launched a High Court challenge against a British law banning the use of logos or branding on packets of tobacco products from May next year.

"Subject to approval from our shareholders ... on 3 February 2016, we will be changing the name of our parent company from Imperial Tobacco Group PLC to Imperial Brands PLC," said a statement.

 "Imperial Brands better reflects the dynamic, brand-focused business that we are now," it said.

The group however added that it plans to keep Imperial Tobacco as one of its corporate brands, alongside its cigar business, Tabacalera.

Last week, Imperial along with peers Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International, launched a legal challenge, claiming "plain-packaging" illegally deprives them of their trademark intellectual property.

In a bid to discourage smoking, the British government introduced a law forcing all packets to be dark brown or green. 

Brand names can be added only in small, plain-font lettering.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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