(Alliance News) - British American Tobacco PLC on Monday kicked off a major buyback programme, expected to run until the end of 2025.

The London-based cigarette and nicotine product manufacturer, whose notable brands include Dunhill and Lucky Strike, will be buying back GBP1.6 billion worth of shares, which then will be cancelled.

The programme, announced on Wednesday last week, is being funded by BAT's sale of 436.9 million shares in ITC Ltd, a Kolkata-based conglomerate with businesses across the consumer goods sector in India. BAT retains a 25% stake in ITC following the disposal, which delivered GBP1.57 billion in net proceeds.

BAT is aiming to buy back GBP700 million worth of shares in 2024 and the remaining GBP900 million by no later than December 2025.

Separately on Sunday, BAT Chief Executive Officer Tadeau Marroco said he has no plan to move the company's primary stock listing from London to New York.

According to the Financial Times, the CEO dismissed the potential move as a "distraction", adding: "I don't think that in this period of time, we should be focused on this."

Shares in BAT were up 1.2% at 2,367.50 pence each in London on Monday morning. The stock is down 20% over the past 12 months.

In Johannesburg, shares were up 0.1% at ZAR564.76.

By Hugh Cameron, Alliance News reporter

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