The end of the sales and distribution agreement between Philip Morris Limited (PML) and Imperial Tobacco (ITL) for PML cigarette (FMC) brands has been brought forward to 18th October 2015.

The new date is prior to the original 31st December 2015 termination date to avoid the challenges associated with transitioning over the year-end holiday period.

The transition process will see PML assume responsibility for all activities in the independent and symbol trade channels for all of its brands from the 1st September 2015, with the exception of any retailers that currently buy PML FMC products directly from ITL.

PML FMC products will continue to be available via ITL’s supply chain up to and including the 18th October, after which orders will be met and serviced by PML.

Melvin Ruigrok, ITL general manager UK & Ireland, commented: “I am pleased we have agreed an earlier transition, as this will ensure our valued trade partners encounter minimal disruption from this process. ITL and PML will be working closely together to ensure a smooth handover process.”

Martin Inkster, PML managing director UK & Ireland, added: “PML would like to thank Imperial Tobacco for its support and cooperation over the past 10-plus years and its assistance during this transition period.”

The two companies said that in order to ensure a smooth transition of the business from ITL to PML, representatives from both PML and ITL will be in contact with their business partners shortly.