Philip Morris shows its faith in Greece

Global tobacco giant shifting part of its production to the Aspropyrgos unit of local subsidiary Papastratos By Anestis Dokas

In another sign of confidence in the Greek economy, global tobacco giant Philip Morris International is planning to transfer some of its production from other plants in Europe to the unit of its Greek subsidiary Papastratos at Aspropyrgos, western Attica.

The news was announced on Tuesday by the chairman and chief executive officer of Papastratos, Nikitas Theofilopoulos, who heads Greece’s biggest tobacco industry. He was speaking on the occasion of the opening of a new production line, conducted by Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis.

Philip Morris is the second multinational firm to shift part of its production to Greece, after Unilever, in a move that also serves to boost the local subsidiary considerably.

The plant inaugurated yesterday constitutes a 3-million-euro investment to be completed by the end of the month, with output to be exported to 15 countries. Mitarakis stated that in coming years new jobs will come from the private sector, adding that important investments such as that by Papastratos bring hope for the economy. He also said that authorities had confiscated 1.5 million packs of smuggled cigarettes last week.

Papastratos sources told Kathimerini that the tobacco industry has also decided to restructure its distribution network in Attica, Thessaloniki and Patra, by appointing exclusive distributors in those areas in order to secure the optimum presence of its products at the points of sale and the sustainability of the traditional retail trade, which has been suffering in the last few years.

With that decision, the company intends to create a strong and modern network that will be able to respond effectively to the conditions in the market. The new distribution model, with exclusive distributors, will apply as of June 1 next year in the same way it has been applied in the rest of the country.

Papastratos says it has contributed 1.4 billion euros to public revenues from tobacco taxes, corresponding to 4 percent of the country’s total revenues. Parent company Philip Morris buys more than 50 percent of the Greek tobacco production, thereby supporting over 12,000 local tobacco farmers.