Robert Mugabe devastated Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry in 2000 by driving white farmers off their land and giving it to his allies. Now British American Tobacco Plc is profiting from tobacco grown on those properties.
BAT, through its partner Northern Tobacco Ltd., is among processors that buy from farms taken by backers of the 87-year-old president. In addition to purchasing the leaf, the companies lend to finance crops, even as the ousted white farmers retain title deeds. First-half net income at BAT’s Zimbabwe unit rose more than tenfold to $2 million while revenue increased 88 percent, the company said on Aug. 29.