Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has filed a complaint with Egypt’s competition authority, the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA), citing allegations of monopoly held by Eastern Company, Egypt’s largest tobacco producer, within the market.
According to a senior insider, the complaint revolves around JTI’s Golden Coast brand, which competes with Eastern Company by offering low-priced cigarettes in the Egyptian market.
The source further added that JTI previously manufactured the brand in its factories in Turkey and then imported and sold it in Egypt. However, recent tax amendments imposing value-added tax on low-priced cigarettes have halted JTI’s import of the brand into Egypt and restricted its sales to locally produced ones.
The Egyptian cigarette market has witnessed several contentious events over the past year. This includes Eastern Company becoming the sole government-owned producer after decades, following the issuance of new licenses, and the sale of 30% of Eastern Company’s shares to a global investment holding company for $625 million.
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