The group wants to merge its 50 per cent-owned interests in Malaysia and Singapore with its wholly owned operation in north-east Asia. Talks with the boards of the two half-owned companies have started.
Rothmans wants their managements to run the new regional operation.
Lord Swaythling, chairman, said the deal would take at least until the end of the year to finalise as it would need the approval of three sets of stock market authorities as well as the outside shareholders.
The north-east Asia operation made trading losses of pounds 16m in the year to 31 March 1992, so there would be an initial dilution of earnings for the shareholders in the two other companies, which are profitable.
Lord Swaythling said longer-term benefits for those shareholders would be access to the large developing market of China.
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