Tobacco giant Philip Morris has acquired Birmingham-based e-cigarette firm Nicocigs.

The company behind the famous Malboro and L&M brands said the deal to buy 100 per cent of Nicocigs provided it with immediate access to and a significant presence in the growing e-vapor market in the UK.

Nicocigs, whose main brand is Nicolites, was founded in 2008 and employs approximately 40 sales representatives, distributing to more than 20,000 points of sale within the UK. Its retail share in April 2014 was 27.3 per cent.

Earlier this month, Japan Tobacco, the company behind Benson & Hedges and Camel, bought Bromsgrove-based E-lites which was set up by former RAF pilot Adrian Everett.

Drago Azinovic, Phillip Morris' president for European Union region, said: "This acquisition is complementary to our previously announced agreement for the license and distribution of Altria Group.

"In addition, it provides Philip Morris with immediate access to, and a significant presence in, the growing e-vapor category in the UK market as well as a strong retail presence, which further complements the current restructuring of our distribution arrangements in the UK."

The UK e-vapor sector is estimated to have a retail value of circa £200 million.

Birmingham accountancy firm Clement Keys supported and assisted the lead adviser on the deal with financial modelling.

Head of corporate finance Ross Cocker said: "As auditors and business advisers to Nicocigs, we are extremely pleased that the business has attracted the attention of an internationally renowned trade buyer and is now well positioned to continue its push into global markets.

"Since Nicocigs was founded, it has grown into a strong, well-managed business with a clear corporate vision which we have been fortunate to have been involved with and assist with the development of key financial controls.

"This is a good example of the calibre of entrepreneurial private sector businesses in the Midlands that are attracting investor interest in the current marketplace."

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