Philip Morris Int’l Invests €300m in Greek Firm
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) has announced an investment of approximately €300 million to convert the cigarette factory of Papastratos, PMI’s affiliate in Greece, into a manufacturing plant for the tobacco sticks to be used with its smoke-free product IQOS.
These tobacco sticks are currently commercialized as Heets or HeatSticks.
Since the equipment necessary to manufacture tobacco sticks for IQOS is larger than that required for cigarette manufacturing, the current facility area will be expanded.
Once fully operational, the plant will have an annual capacity of around 20 billion tobacco sticks. The investment will create 400 new jobs at Papastratos, which already employs approximately 800 people. Construction on the site will commence immediately, with production scheduled to begin in January 2018.
“This investment is further evidence of our progress towards a smoke-free future. We are encouraged by the 1.4 million smokers who have already switched to IQOS around the world, and we expect this momentum to continue. This facility will help enable us to meet growing demand from adult smokers,” stated Frederic de Wilde, PMI’s Regional President for the European Union. He added, “Our ambition is that one day potentially less harmful, smoke-free products replace cigarettes to the benefit of smokers, public health, and society at large.”
The Papastratos plant in Aspropyrgos (Greece) will be PMI’s third facility fully dedicated to the manufacture of smoke-free products. In October 2016, PMI announced completion of its first facility for tobacco sticks manufacturing in Crespellano (Bologna, Italy) in addition to a pre-existing small scale Industrial Development Center in Neuchatel (Switzerland).
IQOS is one of four smoke-free product types from PMI to address adult smoker demand for potentially less harmful alternatives to cigarettes. It is a heated tobacco product launched in late 2014 in two city test markets and is expected to be available in key cities in over 30 markets in 2017. Since 2008, PMI has hired more than 400 scientists and experts and invested over USD 3 billion in research, product development, and scientific substantiation. Results of scientific research to assess the reduced-risk potential of IQOS are very promising, and the company openly shares its scientific methodologies and findings for independent third-party review and verification.