Marc Hasenfuss Editor-at-large

The influence of tobacco on Reinet, the investment vehicle controlled by the Rupert family, continues to wane. A management statement covering the first quarter to end-June, released on Tuesday, showed the value of Reinet’s 2.97% stake in cigarette giant British American Tobacco (BAT) had fallen to €2.95bn (end-March €3.2bn). This meant the holding in BAT represented just 60.7% of Reinet’s net asset value of €4.86bn at the end of June compared with 62.4% at the end of March.

BAT was Reinet’s mainstay investment when the company listed more than 10 years ago. But there has been a steady decline in BAT’s dominant presence in Reinet’s portfolio, so much so that some market watchers are questioning whether the group can still be tagged as a proxy for the tobacco company. At the end of March 2017 BAT accounted for 71% of Reinet’s net asset value. Five years ago the BAT stake, which has also been reduced over the years by share sales, represented 82.5% of Reinet’s portfolio value. I...

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