UPDATE 1-BAT to buy Croatian tobacco business for 550 million euros

lunes 1 de junio de 2015 05:00 GYT

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LONDON, June 1 (Reuters) - British American Tobacco has agreed to buy tobacco company TDR from Croatia's Adris Grupa for 550 million euros ($600.05 million) to increase its scale in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.

As tobacco consumption is declining in many Western markets, tobacco companies are seeking to expand in new markets or to consolidate in order to reduce costs and boost profits.

British American, the world's second largest international tobacco company, also recently bid to takeover Souza Cruz , Brazil's largest tobacco company.

Adris, which also operates in the tourism and insurance industries, said in September it might seek a partner for its cigarette unit as rising global competition was hurting its business.

Adris said BAT had undertaken an obligation to preserve for at least five years tobacco production on the northern Adriatic Istrian peninsula, or to secure an additional 50 million euros in case of early closure of the factory in Kanfanar.

Last year Adris posted revenue of 5.48 billion kuna ($789.76 million), while net profit amounted to 351 million kuna, down from 385.6 million in 2013.

Sales of its tobacco products were nine percent lower than a year before, while two thirds of its revenue came from abroad.

The deal represents a multiple of about 12.5 times TDR's 2014 EBITDA of 44 million euros.

($1 = 0.9166 euros)

($1 = 6.9388 kuna) (Reporting by Martinne Geller; editing by Jason Neely; additional reporting by Igor Ilic in Zagreb, editing by)