A FIRM which makes electronic cigarettes is set to double its workforce after signing a £60 million deal.
SKYCIG, which is based at offices in Broughton Street Lane, has been taken over by Lorillard, the third-largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the United States and owner of the best-selling e-cigarette brand blu eCigs.
It is hoped the lucrative move will see SKYCIG roll out its product, favoured by smokers struggling to give up the vice, to burgeoning markets in Europe.
The takeover is expected to mean a big boost for the Capital company which employs 35 workers at its customer service and digital services team in its Broughton Street Lane office.
Staffing is expected to double in the next six months. The deal is another sign of the growing popularity of e-cigs, which have been used by A-list celebrities including Kate Moss, Britney Spears and Johnny Depp.
Tom Rolfe, co-founder of SKYCIG, said: “The deal means we can realise all of our dreams. We’ve been working very hard to become the premium electronic cigarette in the market place and putting all our resources back in to growing the company.
“Our aspirations have always been to be the most recognised brand in the UK. Now we have that potential with a company that has all that we need to grow was big as we want.” Under the deal SKYCIG will function independently as a separate brand under Lorillard’s ownership.
Mr Rolfe said: “What we want to do is build on our aspirations to become the most recognised electronic cigarette on the market. Once we have achieved that we will move into the Continent, which is a very attractive market for us.”
SKYCIG, which was founded just over two years ago, will become the second e-cigarette brand owned by Lorillard following its acquisition of the USA-based blu eCigs last year.
The firm provides an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes in flavours including Crown Cherry, Crown Menthol, Cinnamon and Classic Tobacco. Last year, it handed out 10,000 of the quit aids at the Wellington Statue on Princes Street to mark No Smoking Day.
Graham Birse, of Edinburgh Napier University’s business school, said: “The company is clearly on-trend.
“Electronic cigarettes are a more acceptable way of getting your nicotine and a way of stopping smoking over time.
“The industry has grown significantly over the past two years, the sheer number of smokers who are trying to turn their back on the habit is huge. Who knows how big this industry is going to become.”
Standard Life bans electronic alternative
SMOKERS at one of Scotland’s biggest companies were banned from using electronic cigarettes at their desks.
Finance firm Standard Life said the e-cigs, which contain a nicotine solution but produce no smoke, breach their strict no-smoking rules.
The battery-powered “healthy” cigarettes heat up the nicotine solution, giving users a hit of their favourite drug and producing steam.
But last year Standard Life, which employs 9000 people in Edinburgh, said e-cig users would have to go outside to get their fix like regular cigarette users.
A spokeswoman said: “We’ve been a non-smoking company for over 20 years and we have no plans to introduce e-cigarettes.”