British American Tobacco (BAT) is believed to be working on a joint venture with management consultants CAP Gemini/Ernst & Young to sell its marketing expertise to other industry sectors.
BAT is believed to be seeking alternative revenue streams in a bid to lift its share price – despite its founding policy of focusing solely on tobacco products.
The new venture is thought to be one of a number of non-tobacco projects currently under consideration.
According to BAT insiders the new project is called Marketinc.
A source close to the company says: “It will sell BAT’s marketing expertise to other countries and companies outside of the tobacco industry.”
The tobacco giant is also believed to be looking at a way of marketing its sales software to other companies.
The diversification comes as BAT prepares to rationalise its brand structure, possibly moving control of some brands out of its UK headquarters into local markets.
Among the brands being considered for decentralisation are 555, Berkeley and Pall Mall.
Some insiders believe the project – codenamed Navigator 2 – will have repercussions for BAT’s troubled Formula One team British American Racing. Chairman Martin Broughton recently indicated he would be prepared to sell the team to Honda.
CAP Gemini has this week finalised the take-over of Ernst & Young’s consultancy arm. A BAT spokesman declined to comment on any of the developments.