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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 6)

CA: How big are leaf exports?

Perez: In value terms, it's more or less equivalent to cigars, which is about $30 to $35 million worth of cigars.

CA: Does that mean that your total purchases of bulk tobacco and finished cigars equal about $70 million?

Perez: Yes. We buy roughly $70 million [worth] per year.

CA: Can I assume that Spain is also the largest overall trading partner for Cuba?

Perez: Yes.

CA: Given the long-standing ties between Spain and Cuba, was the relationship altered during the period when the Soviet Union was a major financial partner with Cuba?

Perez: Not at all. Perhaps just to stress how profound the roots are between the two countries, you can examine the time of Franco's dictatorship in Spain [while] Fidel Castro was in power in Cuba. So, politically the two countries were complete opposites, but regardless, Spain was always the first western country trading with Cuba.

CA: In terms of the 27 million cigars which you import and distribute in Spain, what are the brands and sizes?

Perez: The structure more or less is the following: 50 percent of total consumption is Montecristo. Within Montecristo, half the demand is the No. 4 (petit corona). But, for instance, the No. 2 (torpedo) is also very appreciated. The second brand is Fonseca and the third is Partagas.

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