The Company’s roots date back to 1857 when Tom Gallaher started a business making Irish roll tobacco in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
In 1900, Queen Victoria awarded Gallaher a Royal Warrant, and in 1928 it became a public company for the first time. The first major acquisition took place in 1936 with Senior Service, then J.R. Freeman in 1947. Benson & Hedges was acquired in 1955, and Gallaher launched Silk Cut in 1963.
The biggest change in the Company’s history thus far happened in 1968 when American Tobacco Co. acquired Gallaher. American Tobacco Co. changed its name in 1969 to American Brands, Inc.
After Gallaher became a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Brands, it had several other diversified interests such as an optical company (Dollond & Aitchison) a kitchenware company (Prestige) and a whisky manufacturer (Whyte & Mackay). However, these were gradually disposed of, and Gallaher, under the ownership of American Brands, refocused as a 100% tobacco company in January 1996.
Gallaher demerged from American Brands in May 1997 and for the first time, Gallaher’s Group Plc shares were listed on both the London Stock Exchange and its ADRs on the New York Stock Exchange. American Brands also took the step of changing its name, and is now known as Fortune Brands, Inc.
Since 1997, the Group has been transformed from a predominantly British and Irish company into a leading international tobacco group, assisted by the acquisitions of Liggett-Ducat and Austria Tabak. It is truly an international tobacco manufacturing and wholesale company now, employing over 12,000 people, with manufacturing plants in Austria, Canary Islands, Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Moldova and the UK.
Today, Gallaher is the fifth largest international tobacco company in the world
Gallaher brand biographies
Benson & Hedges Owned in the UK by Gallaher since 1955, Benson & Hedges has a proud British heritage. It is the leading UK premium brand, number one in the Republic of Ireland, and, more recently, is gaining popularity in a number of European markets.
Gallaher created Silk Cut in 1963. Today, it is the leading UK lower tar brand, has significant market shares in the Republic of Ireland and Greece, and is being launched across Europe.
Mayfair was launched in 1992, and is currently available across a selection of the Group’s markets worldwide. In the UK, its key market, Mayfair has become Britain’s second best-selling king-size cigarette brand.
Memphis was launched in Austria in 1897, and is the Group’s key brand in this market. The brand’s footprint has been extended into central and eastern Europe, and more recently was launched in China and Singapore.
The Ronson trademark was developed in the late 1980s, and joined the Gallaher portfolio when the Company acquired Austria Tabak in 2001. It has been a major driver of Gallaher’s growth in various markets in central and eastern Europe, and across the CIS.
Sovereign was launched in the UK in 1965, and then internationally in a number of countries around the world. It was launched in Kazakhstan in 1993, where it became the number one cigarette brand in 2000. It has since been introduced across the CIS region.
LD is Gallaher’s most popular cigarette brand. It was launched in Russia in 1999, and is currently the number one brand in the value segment. Having gained a strong position in CIS markets, LD has been rolled out across the Group’s operations – from western Europe to China.
Sobranie was established in 1897, and is synonymous with super-premium luxury. Over the years, Gallaher has evolved a number of different brand variants within the Sobranie house, delivering on Gallaher’s renowned quality standards.
Old Holborn Blue is the UK’s principal ‘dark tobacco’. Old Holborn Yellow, the leading tobacco brand in Greece, has also been growing shares in a number of European markets.
Amber Leaf was launched in 1991. For the past few years it has been the UK’s fastest-growing handrolling tobacco brand, driven by the success of the innovative ‘piece pack’.
Hamlet cigars were first launched in the UK in 1964. The brand has since grown to become the number one cigar in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. More recently, it has been launched in a number of western European markets.
Condor, since its launch early last century, has been one of the best-selling pipe tobaccos in the UK. The success of the brand has led to launches in the Republic of Ireland, Spain and Sweden.
Official site: http://www.gallaher-group.com/