WCA History- A timeline

With our footprints in the sands of time, this is our timeline of over a hundred years in business in West and Central Africa


We made our first footprint on the shores of Nigeria.  Now, about a century later, we remain the Number 1 marketer and manufacturer of Tobacco in Nigeria.


Our 1st factory was opened in the pace setter state of Nigeria. This was more than a building; it was a seal of our partnership with the Nigerian people.


We extended our operations to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with two subsidiaries: British American Tobacco Services Congo (BAT Services Congo) and British American Import (BAT Import).


We expanded our reach in order to serve the Nigerian market by creating the Nigerian Tobacco Company (NTC) with 59% shareholding.


As demand got higher than supply, it was time for another factory. Where else was more suitable than the treasure base of Nigeria, Port Harcourt?

Our growth expanded to the Gold Coast and on the 1st of November 1952, BAT was registered in Ghana to much fanfare. It manufactured cigarettes at its Takoradi Factory.


Growth called on us again and we heeded its call. This led to the building of our 3rd factory in Nigeria’s centre of learning, Kaduna state.


The story of BAT started in the Republic of Benin when the Government established the factory, MANUCIA, for the manufacturing of matches. Ownership of the factory was split between the Republic of Benin and China with 51% and 49% of shares respectively.


MANUCIA was privatised and sold to Tobacco Exporters International (Rothmans) who rechristened it as SOBETA (Société Béninoise de Tabac). The Republic of Benin factory was dedicated solely to the manufacturing of cigarettes: Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, Concorde, Rothmans Royals, Craven A, Dunhill International, and London.


 The start of a new century heralded the beginning of new and big things for us. To kick things off, we bought the remaining 41% shares from NTC.

 In the Republic of Benin, BAT merged with Rothmans and the Republic of Benin factory underwent a third name change, this time to BAT Benin Ouidah factory.


 A bold move is only topped by a bolder one. In this case, it was the signing of the MOU to invest 150 million dollars in the construction of a factory in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria


We value the environment in which we do our business; we take pride in positively affecting the lives of the people in the community in which we operate. This led to the establishment of the BATN Foundation in Nigeria.


A dream became reality; our state-of-the-art factory in Ibadan was commissioned. A pacesetter factory located within the pacesetter state in Nigeria.


After 94 years of excelling in the Nigerian market, the question became what next? For us, it was to grow from manufacturing in Nigeria to manufacturing from Nigeria. This began our export operations.

The Takoradi factory in Ghana was closed. BAT Ghana now imports cigarettes from the Nigerian factory.


From Nigeria to the West African Markets, in 2010 the “West Africa Area” was established.


Manufacturing operations was halted in DR Congo and the operating model shifted to import and distribution. Subsequently, all BAT brands in DR Congo are now manufactured in and imported from Kenya.


As a sign of our growth, we had to commission the West African Area head office in Lagos Nigeria: The Rising Sun.


We celebrated the production of 100 million sticks within a day at our Ibadan factory, it was en-route to achieving the record 24.06 billion volume within one year. 100 million sticks were the highest volume achieved in 24 hours in the factory's history. It also showed our adaptability to meet marketing stock build volume requirementt.


We celebrate a new milestone to launch the decade as we welcome the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to our newly expanded region. Extending through the shores of West and Central Africa, we broaden our horizons to celebrate even greater milestones from this significant fusion.