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BANJA LUKA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), February 23 (SeeNews) – Bulgarian tobacco group Bulgartabac will close down its tobacco factory in Bosnia's Banja Luka in around 15 days, leaving a hundred people unemployed, Bosnian media reported on Friday.
After British American Tobacco (BAT) announced in April last year it has acquired Bulgartabac's entire range of cigarette brands in Bosnia, including those produced in Banja Luka, as part of a larger deal with the Bulgarian company, now Bulgartabac is shutting down the 130-year old factory, news portal Capital.ba reported.
According to the news portal, the employees were informed of the pending closure and were told that Bulgartabac "no longer works in the tobacco industry".
The employees are said to have informed the government of the Serb Republic and are expecting it to intervene.
A month ago, Bulgartabac replaced the director of the factory Grigor Peev with Savo Corbadziev who informed the workers of the company plans.
"We turned to the government of the Serb Republic to prevent the plant's closure and to help as much as possible, if possible. Representative of the Bulgarian holding company are due to visit on Tuesday and then we will know more," Capital.ba quoted the president of the trade union of the factory, Miroslav Marinkovic, as saying.
Last year in April, BAT said it has signed an agreement with Bulgartabac to buy the Bulgarian company's leading brands for more than 100 million euro ($123.1 million). The deal also includes acquisition of distribution and retail assets in Bulgaria and within the wider Adriatic region.
Prior to that, BAT purchased the tobacco business of Bosnian company Fabrika Duhana Sarajevo (FDS), including its retail business and tobacco brands, from Austria's CID Adriatic Investments (CID).
Bulgartabac Holding's unit Blagoevgrad-BT became the sole owner of the Banja Luka-based tobacco company in 2015, after entering its ownership structure in 2013.