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Rivals Seek Restrictions on Philip Morris Deals

October 07, 2002|Bloomberg News

British American Tobacco and other cigarette makers are asking U.S. legislators to restrict Philip Morris Cos.' exclusive agreements with retailers because they limit competition.

The companies, which also include JT International USA, Liggett Group Inc. and Wind River Tobacco, said in a statement that they wanted to prohibit companies from requiring retailers to limit sales of rival cigarettes.

Philip Morris, the world's largest cigarette maker, whose brands include Marlboro, has sent coupons to some customers and is giving them clothing and duffle bags to keep them from switching to lower-priced, generic brands.

Philip Morris tries to limit advertising for rivals at retailers, the companies said.

The owners of 16,000 U.S. stores support the initiative by British American Tobacco, the statement said, without naming them. It was announced at the National Assn. of Convenience Stores' annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

A spokesman for the company's Brown & Williamson unit didn't return a telephone call seeking comment.

A spokesman for New York-based Philip Morris didn't return a telephone call.

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