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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 8)

CA: Why is Spain's reputation otherwise? What we hear is that Spaniards want the cheap cigars, little cigars, and don't appreciate finer, high-qualiity cigars. But what you're saying is that they are very sophisticated.

Perez: Yes. For example, we received 500 boxes of Lusitania in May. They were sold out in less than a week.

CA: Why are prices in Spain also apparently very good?

Perez: We have the lowest prices for Havana cigars because we have the lowest taxes in Europe on tobacco products. We also have the narrowest margins, both with retailers and the wholesalers.

CA: Is there very little difference in price at duty-free versus cigar shops in Spain? Is it fair to say that the duty-free might be five or 10 percent cheaper, or is it basically the same price, more or less?

Perez: That's the situation, in general terms, but in some cases prices in duty-free are more expensive than in Spain.

CA: From your observations, are duty-free cigars any different in quality than Cuban cigars sold by Tabacalera?

Perez: No, no.

CA: Has there ever been cases where one is getting preferential treatment?

Perez: No. I am sure that the boxes are the same, the same quality. Perhaps for some consumers, it's more agreeable to buy at the dutyfree because the shops may be nicer, but that is it.

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