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Reynolds to buy Swedish smoke-ending firm

Reynolds American Inc will buy a Swedish maker of products that help smokers break their habit in a deal that extends the tobacco company's reach into the smoke-cessation industry.

Closely held Niconovum AB, based in Helsingborg, Sweden, makes nicotine-replacement products such as gum, mouth spray and pouches, which it markets in Sweden and Denmark under the “Zonnic” brand.

Reynolds is paying 310 million Swedish crowns, or about $45.1 million, for Niconovum, the companies said in a statement Wednesday.

Niconovum Chief Executive Nils Siegbahn said that the deal would provide his company with the capital needed to expand its distribution into new markets and to develop new products.

“This acquisition extends the harm-reduction strategies RAI (Reynolds) and its operating companies have been developing over the past several years,” Reynolds CEO Susan Ivey said in the statement.

Niconovum will remain separate from Reynolds, which said it intends to retain Niconovum's current management team.

The deal is expected to close by year-end. (Reuters)