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The history of Benson & Hedges dates back to 1873 when Richard Benson & William Hedges set up a tobacco business, Benson & Hedges Ltd. at 13 Old Bond Street, London. In 1885, Richard Benson left the tobacco business and Alfred Paget Hedges succeeded his father. In the 1900’s, branches of Benson & Hedges Ltd. also opened in America and Canada.
In the 1930’s, Abraham Wix acquired the UK business and then established Benson & Hedges (Overseas) Ltd. to handle overseas trade. In 1955, Benson and Hedges Ltd. was acquired by Gallaher Limited and, hence, the trademark in the UK, while in 1956, British American Tobacco acquired Benson & Hedges (Overseas) Ltd.
As an aside, the American branch became independent in 1928 and was subsequently bought by Phillip Morris in 1958. Phillip Morris also purchased the Canadian branch in 1960 to secure the Benson & Hedges trademark in these regions.
Today, British American Tobacco owns the trademark for Benson & Hedges through Asia Pacific (excluding Taiwan and the Philippines), the Middle East, most of Africa and European Duty Free markets.
British American Tobacco is an international cigarette manufacturer with manufacturing and processing operations worldwide. The Company’s international brands include Dunhill, Lucky Strike, Kent, State Express 555, Rothmans, Peter Stuyvesant, Benson & Hedges, Kool, Pall Mall, Viceroy, Winfield and John Player Gold Leaf. British American Tobacco’s local brands include Jockey Club (Argentina), Stradbroke (Australia), du Maurier (Canada), North State (Finland), HB (Germany), Sopianae (Hungary), Wills (India), Ardath (Indonesia), Carrolls (Ireland), Boots (Mexico) Jan III Sobieski (Poland), Yava Gold (Russia), Courtleigh (South Africa), Parisienne (Switzerland), GPC (United States) and Xon (Uzbekistan). British American Tobacco also produces fine cut, pipe tobacco and cigars.