Brown & Williamson Cuts Jobs, Closes Operations After American Tobacco Deal
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. said Wednesday it will eliminate 1,680 jobs and close some facilities as it consolidates its operations with those of newly-acquired American Tobacco Co.
The job cuts include 1,230 sales representatives across the country and 450 administrative and research positions in Connecticut and Virginia.
T.E. Sandefur Jr., chairman and chief executive of Louisville-based B&W, said the consolidations and lower workforce were ``essential in our drive to be a strong, highly competitive company.″
Brown & Williamson parent, B.A.T. Industries PLC of Britain, completed its $1 billion purchase of American Tobacco from American Brands Inc. on Dec. 22.
The deal created the third biggest U.S. cigarette manufacturer with brands like Kool, Capri, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall.
The American Tobacco headquarters in Stamford, Conn., employing 100 people and research and administrative operations in Chester, Va., will be closed over the next few weeks, Brown & Williamson said.
B&W spokesman Joe Helewicz the moves in Chester will affect 350 employees who worked in leaf purchasing, research and administration positions.
Work at those facilities will be consolidated with B&W’s operations. B&W said it would recruit ``a number″ of former American Tobacco workers for jobs.
The Hanmer tobacco sheet manufacturing facility, employing about 145 workers in Chester, will continue operations, B&W said.
B&W is also eliminating about 1,230 full-time field sales jobs, Helewicz said. Those workers sold American Tobacco products to wholesalers and distributors. B&W will offer part-time positions to 150 workers, he said.
Meanwhile, B&W said it will continue its review of former American Tobacco production facilities.
A plant in Durham, N.C., that employs about 175 people will continue operating to make cigarette labels, tipping paper and foil production, B&W said.
B&W is required to make the Reidsville, N.C., cigarette manufacturing facility available to the purchaser of brands to be divested under an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission announced last month.
The agreement cleared away potential antitrust objections to the American Tobacco purchase.
B&W intends to continue production at the Reidsville facility into 1996, and gradually shift production of certain brands acquired under the agreement to its Macon, Ga., facility.
B&W’s other holdings include a leaf processing facility in Wilson, N.C., a speciality tobacco products manufacturing plant in Winston-Salem, N.C., leaf storage capability in Blacksburg, S.C., and tobacco sheet manufacturing in Lancaster, Penn.