ELECTRONIC cigarettes firm E-Lites, which is headquartered in Bromsgrove, has been bought by a Japanese tobacco maker.

The brand, founded in 2009, was owned by parent company Zandera.

It employs 70 staff and has a turnover of about £16m.

Japan Tobacco, which makes Winston, Camel and Benson & Hedges cigarettes, said the investment gave it an "excellent entry-point" into the e-cigarette category.

The executive management team of Zandera will remain with the JT Group post-acquisition.

Adrian Everett, Zandera's co-founder and chief executive, said: "With access to the JT Group's global distribution muscle, as well as their research and development expertise, proven commitment to quality assurance and vision for emerging products, we look forward to growing the business and further enhancing E-Lites' product offering."

Masamichi Terabatake, Japan Tobacco International executive vice president and deputy chief executive, added: "Our investment in Zandera provides the JT Group with an excellent entry-point into the fast-growing e-cigarette category.

"With E-Lites' well-established brand and product portfolio, we are able to offer adult consumers another important extension to our growing range of emerging and innovative products such as tobacco vapor pods."

In February last year, E-Lites secured a £1.5m finance package from Lloyds TSB Commercial to complement its rapid growth.