PMI to buy Columbia cigarette maker - Protabaco..

July 10, 2009 - Philip Morris International Inc.,(PMI) seller of Marlboro cigarettes overseas, said Friday, July 10th it would pay $452 million to buy privately owned Protabaco, a Colombian cigarette maker expanding its presence in the South American continent. (Protabaco manufactures and sells cigarettes, cigarillos and cigars either in our own brands or private label.)

Protabaco is the second largest tobacco company in Columbia with about 32-percent market share and registered a turnover of around $108 million in 2008. The company has three cigarette plants in Columbia and its leading brands are Mustang, Premier and President.

The purchase of Protabaco needs regulatory approval and is expected to be completed within six months, New York-based PMI said today, July 10th.

The maker of Marlboro cigarettes bought Colombia's biggest tobacco company, Compania Colombiana de Tabaco SA, in 2005. (As of fiscal year ended December 31, 2005, Compania Colombiano de Tabaco S.A. is 96.65% owned by GWP C.V., which is an affiliate of PMI.)

Earlier this month, PMI said it would buy Swedish Match South Africa Ltd.'s pipe tobacco and snuff business for $222 million. PMI and Swedish Match are already partners in a joint venture to sell Swedish Snus and other smokeless tobacco products in markets outside the U.S. and Scandinavia. The deal between the two allows them to license the Marlboro brand for use on smokeless products.

PMI was spun off last year from Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., the seller of Marlboros in the U.S.

Reference: Philip Morris International to buy Protabaco, Associated Press, 7/10/2009; Philip Morris acquiring Colombian tobacco company, Staff Reporters, Richmond Times Dispatch, 7/10/2009; Philip Morris to acquire Columbian cigarette maker for $452 million,, 7/11/2009.