HAVANA TIMES – Cuba sold cigars worth US $537 million in 2018, up seven percent from the previous year, despite an international spike in anti-smoking laws, says Habanos, which has a monopoly on the industry on the Island.
“The tobacco market is always surrounded by an increasingly complex regulatory environment,” said Habanos’s vice president of business development Jose Maria Lopez Inchaurbe on Monday, reported dpa news.
However, “In Gulf countries we’ve had a 100 per cent increase in sales to the public. You can imagine the impact that has,” Lopez said on Monday during the launch of the 21st Cuban cigar festival.
Habanos is a joint venture formed by the state-owned Cubatabaco and Spanish company Altadis, owned by British tobacco giant Imperial Tobacco.
The different brands of cigars produced by the company, including Montectristo and Cohiba, made up 70 per cent of the 140 million Cuban cigars sold worldwide last year.
Sales increased despite Cuban cigars being banned in the United States, whose citizens may only import a small amount for personal use if they visit Cuba.
Cuban cigars are sold in about 150 countries, with their main market being Spain, China, France, Germany and Cuba itself. The European market makes up 53 per cent of the market for Habanos.
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