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Business deals

Japan Tobacco to buy Bangladesh's No. 2 cigarette maker

$1.5bn deal provides foothold in a rare growth market

Workers smoke a cigarette in Bangladesh, where the already large market looks to grow 2% annually.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan Tobacco continues expanding its presence in emerging markets with a deal to buy the tobacco business of Bangladesh's Akij Group for 124.3 billion taka ($1.48 billion), as rising health awareness leaves little room for growth in advanced markets.

Bangladesh is the world's eighth-largest cigarette market, and Akij Group ranks as the country's second-biggest tobacco company with a 20% cigarette share, JT said Monday. Akij boasts strengths in low-cost brands like Navy and Sheikh.

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