ECONOMY

Cementing a long-term partnership

Papastratos, the 72-year-old company which makes and markets cigarettes under the brands Marlboro, Assos International, President, Old Navy, Cosmos, Saga, Sante and Papastratos, cemented its 28-year-old relationship with Philip Morris International with yesterday’s agreement. Papastratos shares were suspended from trading yesterday following news of the takeover. It closed at 19.1 euros on Monday. «The price, which does not include the dividend for the year 2002, is very logical,» said Alexandros Vakirtzis, analyst at Intersec. Papastratos has proposed a dividend of 1 euro for the year 2002. Papastratos is not expected to remain listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. «Once (Philip Morris) acquires 95 percent of Papastratos, it could delist the company,» said Vakirtzis. The Papastratos group includes operations in Romania, Ukraine and the Netherlands. The cigarette maker posted group EBITDA of 43.9 million euros in 2002, up 18 percent, and pretax profits of 39.3 million euros, an increase of 7 percent. It has a 15 percent share of the local tobacco market.