Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Imperial Tobacco Co

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November 1933.
January 1934.
December 1934.
September 1936.
1939. From The Aeroplane magazine of 15th December.
June 1939.
July 1940.
October 5 1946..
January 1947.
1951
‎‎
December 1953.
‎‎
August 1954.
1956. Lord Dulverton the President.

of East Street, Bedminster, Bristol.

1901 The Imperial Tobacco Company was created through the amalgamation of thirteen British tobacco and cigarette companies compromising W. D. and H. O. Wills of Bristol (the leading manufacturer of the time), John Player and Sons (Player's) of Nottingham and 11 other independent family businesses, which were being threatened by competition from the United States in the form of James Buchanan Duke and his American Tobacco Company. The company was registered on 10 December to amalgamate various businesses of tobacco manufacturers. [1]

The original merger took place between W. D. and H. O. Wills of Bristol and Stephen Mitchell and Son of Glasgow.

The company's first Chairman was William Henry Wills of the Wills Company. Subsequently the smaller companies in the group including Lambert and Butler, William Clarke and Son, Franklyn Davey, Edwards Ringer, J. and F. Bell and F. and J. Smith were absorbed by the larger, with Wills and Players eventually emerging as the UK market leaders.

1902 The then Imperial Tobacco Company and the American Tobacco Company agreed to form a joint venture; the British-American Tobacco Company Ltd. The parent companies agreed not to trade in each other's domestic territory and to assign trademarks, export businesses and overseas subsidiaries to the joint venture.

1911 American Tobacco sold its share but Imperial maintained an interest in British American Tobacco until 1980.

1960 Invested in the Golden Wonder Crisp Co of Edinburgh.

1964 As a prelude to further diversification, the company was split into 4 divisions:

  • Tobacco
  • Paper and board interests
  • Distributive trades
  • General trade interests, including Golden Wonder.

1964 Acquired a 75 percent interest in Anselm Holdings, a group of companies making plastic products[2]

1967 Acquired H. P. Sauce, maker of sauces and pickles, as well as canned beans and other foods.

1968 Acquired National Canning Co, maker of Smedley's canned and frozen foods[3]

1969 Acquired Ross Group, maker of frozen food, poultry, shellfish and processed vegetable products.

1969 Acquired Young's Seafoods[4]

1969 Formed Motoross, operators of motorway service stations

1969 Formation of new subsidiary, Smedley Ross Foods, to handle the frozen foods business of its newly acquired Smedley and Ross businesses[5]

1970 Another major acquisition in the food sector, Allied Farm Foods[6]

1972 Acquired Courage, Saccone and Speed, Imperial Hotels

1973 Having become increasingly diversified (restaurant chains, food services and brands, distribution etc), Imperial Tobacco Company became the Imperial Group Limited, later Imperial Group PLC.

1978 Acquired Eastwood Thompson

1980 Acquired Howard Johnson

1981 Acquired Happy Eater

1982 Imperial Group sold its UK chicken and egg, animal feed and meat trading operations to Hillsdown Holdings, including Allied Farm Foods, Buxted Poultry, Eastwood Thompson and J. B. Eastwood[7]

1986 The company was acquired by the conglomerate Hanson Trust plc, at a price of £2.5 billion. Hanson undertook a major reorganisation of the company; divestments netted £2.3 billion, leaving Hanson with the hugely profitable tobacco business for "next to nothing."

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. The Times Nov 03, 1964
  3. The Times Mar 19, 1968
  4. The Times, Apr 03, 1982
  5. The Times, Dec 02, 1969
  6. The Times, Jan 24, 1970
  7. The Times, Jul 09, 1982