Imperial Brands Is Said to Acquire Maker of Vaping Liquids

  • Nerudia makes nicotine infusions, consults on compliance
  • Deal is Imperial’s second e-cigarette acquisition this year
Ilona Orshansky, owner of Brooklyn Vaper, uses a vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in her shop in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. Photographer: Timothy Fadek

Imperial Brands Plc has acquired a U.K.-based manufacturer of e-cigarette liquids, according to people familiar with the matter, pushing deeper into vaping as tobacco companies seek alternatives to smoking.

Nerudia, based in Liverpool, England, produces nicotine-infused liquids for use in vapor products and works with manufacturers to ensure products comply with regulatory standards in the European Union and the U.S.

Imperial will announce the acquisition along with its full-year results on Tuesday, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

The Nerudia acquisition is the latest in a series of deals that have deepened Imperial’s commitment to the e-cigarette industry. Unlike British American Tobacco Plc, Philip Morris International Inc. and Japan Tobacco Inc., Imperial so far has opted against entering the fast-growing heated-tobacco market, instead plowing its resources into e-cigarettes.

Imperial acquired Dragonite’s e-cigarette business in 2013 to get access to its intellectual property before making its biggest play with the purchase of blu, then the world’s leading e-cigarette brand, the following year. The Bristol, England-based tobacco manufacturer acquired Austrian e-cigarette manufacturer Von Erl GmbH in July.

Nerudia was founded in 2013 and now has more than 100 employees. E-cigarette entrepreneurs David Newns and Chris Lord started the company in partnership with Contraf-Nicotex-Tobacco GmbH, the largest provider of pharmaceutical-grade nicotine to the e-cigarette industry globally. Newns and Lord sold their previous venture CN Creative, which developed the Intellicig e-cigarette, to BAT in 2012.

In 2016, Nerudia’s sales were 10.3 million pounds ($13.6 million), according to accounts filed at U.K. Companies House. The company booked a net loss of 826,000 pounds last year.

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