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Pedro Perez—Former President, Tabacalera

A talk with the man behind Tabacalera, Spain's $7 billion tobacco company.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Tom Selleck, Winter 95/96

(continued from page 1)

In the nontobacco sector, we have a company in the dairy business, the leading company in Spain, La Lactaria Espanola. We have a stake in an oil company, Koipe, which is the first olive oil company in the world, [and] a stake in sugar, Ebro Agricolas. We also have a small company in the financial sector, covering pension funds.

Altogether, the Tabacalera group consists of more than 20 companies.

CA: What were the annual sales and profits of Tabacalera in 1994?

Perez: Sales of the group was roughly $7 billion. And profit was around $150 million.

CA: Could you explain the ownership structure of the company?

Perez: Tabacalera was always a company in which the public [government] sector had a majority stake, 52 percent, [with] 48 percent for the private sector. This situation is not a new one. From the very beginning, the company was designed as a monopoly rented to the private sector.

CA: Didn't the government once own the entire operation?

Perez: When Tabacalera began in 1636, the government rented the tobacco monopoly to the private sector; so the private sector always managed the company. More recently, after the Civil War in Spain [1936-1939], there was a change and the public sector took a majority stake in the company. Since then, the structure has been 52 percent controlled by the government. Of the remaining 48 percent, 38 percent is controlled by foreign investors, 10 percent by Spanish investors.

CA: Of the $7 billion in sales, what percentage does tobacco represent?

Perez: It represents 80 percent.

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