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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 4)

CA: Are you not also the largest buyer of handmade cigars produced in Cuba?

Perez: Yes.

CA: Are all the cigars for consumption in Spain?

Perez: Yes.

CA: It's very interesting. You produce your own cigars, using bulk Cuban tobacco in the Canary Islands, but you also supply the largest market in the world for Cuban cigars. I was told a few years ago that roughly 50 percent of the exports of all Cuban cigars go to Tabacalera, and mixed into that is a sizable amount of machine-made cigars. Last year, I understand that Cuba exported something like 55 million cigars of which 10 million were machine-made and 45 million were handmade. Those are the rough numbers I recall. So you bought 27 million?

Perez: Last year, we bought 27 million cigars, most of them handmade.

CA: That figure does not include any machine-made?

Perez: The Cuban machine-made cigars represent a very small percentage of our purchase.

CA: So what you're saying is that your share of the exported Cuban handmade cigars is more than 50 percent. If you're saying you purchased 27 million handmade cigars and the Cubans told me they exported a total of 55 million less about 10 million machine-made for a total of 45 million handmade, then Tabacalera represents roughly 60 percent of Cuba's handmade cigar exports?

Perez: Yes, but last year was a very particular year because of the shortages of tobacco.

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