Friday, September 26, 2008

Cigar company will need capital infusion after storms in Cuba

Cigar company will need capital infusion after storms in Cuba
Imperial Tobacco Group PLC
ITYBY | 9/25/2008 12:54:01 PM
Havana, Sep 25, 2008 (EFE via COMTEX News Network) --

Corporacion Habanos S.A., a joint venture between the Cuban government
and Imperial Tobacco Group PLC's Altadis subsidiary, said that it will
have no problems supplying its famous cigars in 2009 although it will
need an "important financial injection."

"At least for next year" the company should not have "great difficulties
in the supply of cigars," despite the damage to more than 5,000 tobacco
curing structures in Pinar del Rio done by two hurricanes this month,
the company's vice president for marketing, Manuel Garcia, said.

"Fortunately for us, we have a reserve of raw materials that is going to
facilitate providing the product," said Garcia emphasizing that "the
damage to everything that is the growing process for tobacco in the
country still has not been quantified."

"Undoubtedly, we're going to need an important financial injection for
... tobacco," he added.

That financing should arrive, said Garcia, from the firm's partners, for
instance Altadis and the distributors of famous brands like Montecristo,
Cohiba or Partagas, which Habanos sells all over the world.

He also said that right now "there is a group of leaders in the (sector)
that are going all over the country to quantify the damage."

To date, Habanos has tallied its losses at between 800 and 1,000 tons of
tobacco, more than 3,400 curing houses totally destroyed and almost
2,000 damaged in Pinar del Rio, the main tobacco-growing area where the
firm manufactures handmade premium cigars.

Hurricanes Ike and Gustav hit Cuba between Aug. 30 and Sept. 9 leaving
in their wakes damage calculated at $5 billion, according to official
figures, and $10 billion, according to experts cited by Cuban
television. EFE

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