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EXCLUSIVE: ST Group Acquires Toraño Cigar Factories

Jan 6, 2009 | By David Savona
EXCLUSIVE: ST Group Acquires Toraño Cigar Factories

The Toraño family has sold its cigar factories to the parent company of C.A.O. International Inc. Nobel Cigars, a unit of the Scandinavian Tobacco Group (ST Group) acquired Latin Cigars Nicaragua, located in Estelí, and Latin Cigars Honduras, located in Danlí, for undisclosed terms. The deal officially closed on December 31.

The factories make a combined 20 million handmade cigars annually, including most C.A.O. brands and all Carlos Toraño cigars. The factories were owned and run by the Toraños and the Fidel Olivas family.

Charlie Toraño, president of Toraño Cigars, said in an interview that he and the Olivas would continue to operate the factories.

The deal does not include the Carlos Toraño cigar brands, which the Toraños will continue to own. They will still be distributed by C.A.O.

The ST Group is one of the world's largest producers of cigars, with annual sales of 1.7 billion cigars, but these Central American assets are the first handmade cigar factories in the company's impressive portfolio. The company makes brands such as Café Crème and Henri Wintermanns.

"ST Group is a very strong manufacturing company, and it makes very strong sense for them to own the production," said Gary Hyams, chairman of C.A.O. Hyams was instrumental in ST Group's January 2007 acquisition of C.A.O. "We have big plans for the factories to develop them further."

For much more on this story, see the January 13 Cigar Insider.