Our South African history

BAT has a proud heritage in South Africa. Operating in the country for more than 100 years, the company’s official history began with the creation of the United Tobacco Company in 1904.

The global merger of Rothmans International with BAT in 1999 created the business as it is known today – and led to the creation of BAT South Africa. In 2020, BAT was certified as a Proudly South African company and is the only remaining large-scale local tobacco manufacturer in the country. We are also the only tobacco manufacturer that is fully integrated into the tobacco value chain.

BAT South Africa is home to South Africa’s top six cigarette brands - market-leader Peter Stuyvesant, Pall Mall, Dunhill, Rothmans and Benson and Hedges – and is the country’s leading cigarette manufacturer and distributor.

Key dates

  • 1904: United Tobacco Company is formed.
  • 1976: Heidelberg Factory is established as a social upliftment project in an area with low economic growth.
  • 1999: The global merger of Rothmans International with BAT results in the largest tobacco company in South Africa, now known as BAT South Africa.
  • 2008: Remgro unbundles its investment in BAT to its shareholders.