Imperial Tobacco Group plc (LSE: IMT) is a global tobacco company headquartered in Bristol, United Kingdom. It is the world’s fourth largest cigarette company by market share (after Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco), and the world's largest producer of cigars, fine-cut tobacco and tobacco papers. It produces over 320 billion cigarettes per year, has 51 factories worldwide and its products are sold in over 160 countries. Its brands include Davidoff, West, Gauloises Blondes, Montecristo, Drum (the world's second largest selling fine-cut tobacco) and Rizla (the world’s best-selling rolling paper).
It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
The Imperial Tobacco Company was created in 1901 through the amalgamation of thirteen British tobacco and cigarette companies comprising W.D. & H.O. Wills of Bristol (the leading manufacturer of tobacco-based products at that time), John Player & Sons of Nottingham and 11 other independent family businesses, which were being threatened by competition from the United States in the form of James Buchanan Duke and his American Tobacco Company.
First W. D. & H. O. Wills of Bristol merged with Stephen Mitchell & Son of Glasgow. Subsequently other smaller companies including Lambert & Butler, William Clarke & Son, Franklyn Davey, Edwards Ringer, J & F Bell and F & J Smith participated in the amalgamation.
The Company's first Chairman was William Henry Wills of the Wills Company.