British American Tobacco to downsize Chile operation on law changes

jueves 9 de julio de 2015 16:28 GYT

SANTIAGO, July 9 (Reuters) - The Chilean unit of British American Tobacco said on Tuesday it will close various plants in the South American nation after Congress stiffened an anti-tobacco law.

Among the approved measures are a prohibition on certain cigarette ingredients, such as menthol, and a requirement to increase the anti-tobacco messages printed on packs.

The company, one of Chile's largest cigarette manufacturers, called the changes to the law "arbitrary and unconstitutional," and said the measures would cost the government $400 million in annual tax revenue.

The local unit will shut operations in four of Chile's regions and lay off at least 20 percent of its workforce as a result. It said it will consider shutting another plant located some 50 miles west of capital Santiago.

"We want to express that we deeply lament that the Senate approved this, a decision which will affect thousands of Chileans that have worked legally and responsibly in this sector for more than a hundred years," BAT added. (Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Andrew Hay)