Anton Rupert

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Anthony Edward Rupert was the founder of cigarette maker Rothmans Tobacco International and WWF South Africa.

An obituary on Rupert, who died in 2006, states:

"Anton Rupert, a South African industrialist and philanthropist who opposed apartheid's inhumanities and used his wealth to fund environmental and educational projects, died at the age of 89 last week. Rupert rose from humble beginnings to become one of South Africa's most successful industrialists, playing a leading role in the country's mining, tobacco, banking, media, beverage, food and health care industries. His family features in the Forbes list of the world's 500 wealthiest families with assets estimated at US$1,7 billion (about N$10,5 billion)." [1]


Anton Rupert and tobacco

Rupert started out as a chemistry lecturer who made cigarettes in his garage. He eventually built this endeavor in the 1940s into a tobacco company called Verband (short for Verband der CigarettenIndustrie), which became a tobacco and industrial conglomerate called the Rembrandt Group, which, by 1980, was the third largest corporation in South Africa.[7] Eventually Rembrandt split into two separate companies: Remgro, an investment company with financial, mining and industrial interests, and Richemont, a Swiss-based luxury goods group. In 1995 Rembrandt and Richemont consolidated their respective tobacco interests to create Rothmans Tobacco International, which at the time was the world's fourth largest cigarette company.[8][9]

By all accounts Rupert was a billionaire and a philanthropist.

Around 1976 Rupert was involved with the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company in its Project XA to create a palladium catalyst cigarette. Rupert apparently was a consultant on the project. Liggett discovered that by incorporating palladium into tobacco as a burn catalyst, a cigarette could be produced that burned more cleanly and produced, using experiments with mice, a far safer, less carcinogenic cigarette. Despite 25 years of research, development and market planning, the palladium cigarette was never commercially produced.[10]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Anton Rupert, South African industrialist, philanthropist, World News, accessed November 27, 2007.
  2. W.P. Esterhuyse, Anton Rupert: Advocate of Hope (Tafelberg, 1986), p.60.
  3. W.P. Esterhuyse, Anton Rupert: Advocate of Hope (Tafelberg, 1986), p.69.
  4. The Origins of Peace Parks Foundation, Peace Parks Foundation, accessed November 26, 2007.
  5. Nedbank Green Trust, organizational web page, accessed January 10, 2013.
  6. Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal, WWF, accessed April 28, 2009.
  7. Peter Taylor A Dying Industry Script/transcript. April 14, 1980. 25 pp. Bates No. 504848672/8696, and Page --8677
  8. South African Magnate Anton Rupert Dies, Olson P, Forbes Magazine, January 19, 2006
  9. Tycoon Anton Rupert dies in his sleep. Business Report online edition, January 19, 2006
  10. Meeting in London with Mr Mulligan and Dr Anton Rupert to Discuss Project Tame, Memo by Mold J., June 16, 1976, Liggett & Myers collection, Bates No. lg0390834/0835

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