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Rothmans International
Former type Public
Fate Acquired
Successor British American Tobacco
Founded 1890
Defunct 1999
Headquarters London, UK
Key people Lord Swaythling, (Chairman)
Industry Tobacco

Rothmans International plc was a British tobacco manufacturer. Its brands included Rothmans and Dunhill. Its international headquarters were in Hill Street, London and its international operations were run from Denham Place, Denham Village in Buckinghamshire. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but was acquired by British American Tobacco in 1998.



The Company was founded by Louis Rothman in 1890 as a small kiosk on Fleet Street in London. In 1900 Rothman opened a small showroom in Pall Mall from where he launched his famous Pall Mall cigarette brand. His reputation was such that King Edward VII granted Rothmans a royal warrant in 1905. Rothmans was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1929.

In 1954 the Rembrandt Tobacco Company acquired a controlling interest in Rothmans. Rembrandt was expanding and in 1958 acquired Carreras who in turn took a 51% stoke in Alfred Dunhill in 1967.

In the 1970's Rothmans became involved in sponsorship sponsoring the British Olympic team in 1972 and the inaugural Hong Kong Sevens in 1976. They also sponsored Rothmans Football Yearbook, an annual football reference book, from 1970 until 2002.

In 1988 Lord Swaythling became Chairman and Chief Executive.[1]

In January 1996 the Rembrandt Group and Richemont merged their tobacco business under the Rothmans International name.[2] Then in 1999 Rothmans was acquired by British American Tobacco.[3]

Sponsorship of motorsports

The Rothmans sponsored 1996 Williams driven by Jacques Villeneuve.
One of several Porsche 956s sponsored by Rothmans.

Rothmans was an active promoter of motorsports, principally in Europe, yet in world championships series.

From 1982 onwards, Rothmans supported the factory Porsche effort, winning the 1982 24 Hours of Le Mans 1-2-3 with their Porsche 956. Rothmans-Porsche also won the World Sportscar Championship, many other races and later Le Mans events in the 1980s, until the team officially pulled out of the championship in 1987. Rothmans sponsorship also extended to rallying, where they sponsored Walter Röhrl's 1982 World Rally Championship-winning Opel Ascona 400 and then the winning Porsche team at the 1986 Paris-Dakar rally. When the Porsche involvement ended at the end of the Group B days, Rothmans transferred its association to Subaru, run by David Richards' Prodrive team. Coincidentally, Richards had run the Porsche rallying team and was sponsored by Rothmans when he was co-driving Ari Vatanen to his privateer 1981 World Drivers' Championship success aboard the Ford Escort RS1800. The association with Prodrive would last until 1992, when their sponsorship was replaced by sister brand State Express 555.

Between 1985 to 1993 Grand Prix motorcycle racing, Rothmans supported the works Honda team. Rothmans then transferred their association to Williams F1 during the World Championship until 1998, when sponsorship was transferred to Winfield, another sister brand.


  1. ^ Obituary: Lord Swaythling Independent, 13 July 1998
  2. ^ Richemont: History
  3. ^ BAT will buy Rothmans New York Times, 12 January 1999

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