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Richard L. DiMeola

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Cigar Corporation
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96

(continued from page 24)

CA: Well then, let me reverse it. If, in 1995, it turns out that the handmade cigar category was 170 million, which seems to be where it's headed, what percentage of the market today is bundles?

DiMeola: I don't know that. I just don't know it. I would guess it's smaller than it was in 1990 as a percentage basis because there has been so much increased interest in brands and higher-priced products.

CA: But today you're doing 15 million--five years ago was it...

DiMeola: Well, before we had the Honduran factory, I would guess the proportion of bundles coming out of our Dominican factory was about the same as it is now.

CA: But your production is so much greater today; a lot greater. Today, you're producing 25 million cigars in the Dominican Republic. Five years ago it probably was 12. Something like that, right? Where do most of your bundles come from? Do they come from Honduras or the Dominican Republic?

DiMeola: Honduras and Mexico.

CA: So the Dominican Republic factory produces a small portion of your bundle business?

DiMeola: That's correct. And we would like to produce an even smaller amount there.

CA: Jamaica. You've said to me that you are either planning to, or are in the process of, reopening or opening a factory in Jamaica for the production of Royal Jamaica. Can you talk a little bit about that project?

DiMeola: We're in the process of that project now. We would like to open a factory in Jamaica. We would like to move the production of Royal Jamaica to Jamaica for a number of reasons. One important reason is we then relieve La Romana. Another reason is that we think the story that can be told about bringing Royal Jamaica back to Jamaica is an interesting one--the fact that Jamaican authorities are looking on this as if they have found a long-lost national treasure.

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