CLUSTER MANAGER CENTRAL ASIA, BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO
Industry & ICT I Interview I Uzbekistan 2023
_BIOGRAPHY He has over 25 years of experience in BAT, one of the largest international FMCG companies in the world with various roles and very important responsibilities in a complex and rapidly changing environment. Previously he was General Director of BAT Belarus, Head of Marketing BAT Uzbekistan, and Regional Manager for BAT South Central Asia.
“BAT IS COMMITTED TO UZBEKISTAN FOR THE LONG-TERM, DEMONSTRATED THROUGH ITS SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENTS AND SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES.”
BAT IS LEADING THE WAY IN THE INDUSTRY WITH A BOLD TRANSFORMATION PROCESS, MAKING STRONG PROGRESS TOWARDS ITS PURPOSE TO BUILD “A BETTER TOMORROW”. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS CONCEPT AND HOW IT IS BEING APPLIED IN UZBEKISTAN?
Tobacco, or more widely, the nicotine industry, is in a period of rapid changes like never before. BAT started a transformation in 2012 and since that time has been heavily investing in research and development of new nicotine product categories. Our purpose is to create “A Better Tomorrow” for our consumers by proposing products with reduced health impact. BAT intends to provide a choice for adult consumers of a multi-category portfolio of non-combustible products that can meet their preferences and have reduced risks to their health in comparison with smoking.
Our ambition is to have 50 million consumers worldwide of our non-combustible products by 2030 and to accelerate the growth of our New Category revenues. Furthermore, BAT creates a dynamic, inspiring, and purposeful place for employees to deliver superior and sustainable returns for our shareholders, aiming to reduce the environmental impact of our business on society. BAT entered the Uzbekistan market in 1994, and since that time, we have gradually been building a successful business with a rich culture, effective corporate governance, social responsibility, and care for the environment and employees.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN REASONS FOR THE SUCCESS OF BAT IN UZBEKISTAN?
BAT is a business where sustainability has always been important. Our company strives for constructive cooperation to respect the interests of all parties involved: employees, business partners, society, and the government of the country. We are investing significant resources and efforts in our ESG strategy. We are actively implementing "green" energy in Uzbekistan.
Over the past two years, we have invested in solar panels and solar collectors to ensure our offices in Samarkand and Urgut plant are self-sufficient. We ensured that our factory has had zero waste in a landfill since the beginning of 2022. Equally important is our positive impact on society – improving working conditions for farmers, ensuring no child labor in agriculture, and respecting human rights, and the social and legal status of women in society.
WHAT INVESTMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE, AND WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR 2023?
In 2023 BAT Uzbekistan successfully launched the localization of THP (Tobacco Heating Products) sticks production. BAT invested around U$30 million in this project. Samarkand became the 5th factory in the world for THP sticks production, and the majority of the volume is exported.
This is a big step for our business in Uzbekistan. The Samarkand cigarette factory turned into a multicategory production facility with three categories of nicotine products produced (cigarettes, modern oral nicotine products, and tobacco heating sticks) to satisfy local demand and export markets.
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN UZBEKISTAN EXPLORE THE FULL POTENTIAL OF ITS ECONOMY AND CONTINUE TO INCREASE ITS ATTRACTIVENESS TO INVESTORS?
This is a great moment for Uzbekistan, and we are happy to be part of this transformation journey. Economic reforms, growing GDP, and huge business and social development opportunities – all make Uzbekistan very attractive in the global business arena. We hope that Uzbekistan will continue economic reforms, creating a favorable framework for investments and inspiring innovation in removing barriers.