Can a tobacco company ever be ESG friendly?

Analysis of Philip Morris deal

Kathleen Gallagher
clock • 3 min read
What will it take for Philip Morris to be considered an ESG stock?
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What will it take for Philip Morris to be considered an ESG stock?

Tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) is raising eyebrows as it edges ever closer to its acquisition of UK inhaler maker Vectura and investment experts are divided about the future of the company from an ESG perspective.

"If one was cynical, one could say this is a move to greenwash over the less desirable areas of the business," said Miranda Beacham, head of ESG for equities & multi asset at Aegon AM. Whether one is cynical or not, when considering the big picture, Chris Beckett, equity analyst at Quilter Cheviot, said the deal "does not change very much". It is quite small in comparison to the overall company, at around $1bn, while Philip Morris' market cap is around $156bn. ESG assets on track to exceed $50trn by 2025 However, Beckett added that "where it does make a difference is the intenti...

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