LONDON - Philip Morris International (PMI) said on Wednesday it had acquired a 14.7% indirect minority stake in Egypt's largest cigarette manufacturer, Eastern Company.

PMI, the world's top tobacco company by market value, did not disclose the value of the transaction. It said as part of the deal the companies would explore potential areas of strategic collaboration, including heated tobacco products.


Heated tobacco products heat packages of ground up tobacco but do not burn it in an attempt to avoid the harmful chemicals generated via combustion.

PMI's IQOS heated tobacco device is already the market leader globally, but the products are mostly popular in developed markets.

More recently, PMI has been looking to increase uptake in developing markets, including via cheaper heated tobacco devices.


"We look forward to exploring potential areas of cooperation with Eastern, including opportunities to provide adult smokers in Egypt with better options than cigarettes," said Fred de Wilde, PMI's President South & Southeast Asia, Commonwealth of Independent States and Middle East and Africa.


PMI shares were up 0.5% at 1435 GMT.

(Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Mark Potter)