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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 14)

Perez: Yes. And this is why we were approaching American companies. We thought at the time that General was the best company for us. It was the leader in the premium segment.

CA: Did you talk to other companies besides General Cigar?

Perez: This is quite confidential.

CA: Explain to me how you see an association benefiting each party?

Perez: Well. General Cigar is the appropriate complement for Tabacalera and vice versa. In the sense that, for Tabacalera, General Cigar can be the company for increasing our presence, and increase the portfolio of General Cigar with the United States. For instance, General could introduce our Canary Island cigars, which are, as you know, wonderful cigars. General has the distribution in the United States. Macanudo, to begin with, could be introduced in Europe through Tabacalera. We can give General the muscle for their products in Europe.

CA: How can the association between Tabacalera and General Cigar benefit your business in the United States?

Perez: The market in the U.S., thanks in part to your excellent work, is booming for the first time in many years. Last year was a year of recovery in the U.S. cigar market. The evolution this year is confirming this trend and we perceive that this trend can be maintained in the future. It means that, as you know, the United States is suffering a shortage of good, handmade cigars. We have the capacity to supply more handmade cigars and we have a wonderful product.

CA: You are the largest purchaser of Cuban cigars. The embargo is not going to last forever. What plans or ideas do you have after the embargo that will benefit Tabacalera and will benefit General Cigar?

Perez: And also Cuba, of course.

CA: But how will the association help General Cigar? Is this deal in preparation for the end of the embargo so that the very next day after the embargo ends, you could be selling Cuban cigars in the United States?

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