June 26, 2007 - Philip Morris (PM) to close N.C. cigarette plant.. PM USA will close its 2,500-employee cigarette plant in Concord in Cabarrus County, North Carolina in three years, citing a decline in U.S. demand for cigarettes. Most local production will move to the company's Richmond, Va., facility, where many of the Cabarrus County plant's workers would be offered jobs, the company announced on Tuesday, June 26, 2007. The decision to close the 2.4 million-square-foot Concord plant is part of a larger plan by the subsidiary of New York-based Altria Group Inc. to consolidate its facilities and move more cigarette production to Europe, where smoking isn't taking such a large hit as in the United States. The decision will leave the 1.6 million-square-foot Richmond facility as Philip Morris' only U.S. production plant. The Concord shutdown will hit the local economy hard. Philip Morris is Concord's top taxpayer; in 2006, the company paid nearly $5 million in total municipal taxes. Cigarettes can be produced at a lower cost overseas and marketed to customers who are not as concerned about health issues as they are in the United States, where consumption has been on the decline since the 1960s. (by Ken Elkins, Charlotte Business Journal, 6/26/2007) Click on image to enlarge..