Cigar Industry

Imperial Brands Selling Its Premium Cigar Business

Deal would include two cigar factories, JR Cigar and 50 percent of Cuba’s Habanos S.A.
Apr 30, 2019 | By David Savona
Imperial Brands Selling Its Premium Cigar Business

Imperial Brands PLC intends to sell its premium cigar business, a company that includes two major cigar factories, one of the world’s largest cigar retail chains, 50 percent of Cuba’s Habanos S.A. and Altadis U.S.A. Inc., the company that makes and markets a treasure-trove of non-Cuban cigar brands such as Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and H. Upmann.

Imperial’s premium cigar assets are considerable, and among the world’s largest. It makes cigars by hand in the Dominican Republic in the country’s largest cigar factory, Tabacalera de Garcia, where such cigars as Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, Henry Clay and many more are rolled for the U.S. market. It also owns Flor de Copan, a handmade cigar factory in northern Honduras.

JR Cigar, its cigar retail arm, is among the top Internet cigar retailers in the United States, and the company also has a growing chain of high-end cigar stores called Casa de Montecristo. Perhaps the most alluring asset in the company’s vast portfolio is its 50 percent ownership of Habanos S.A., the Havana-based monopoly that controls the export of all of Cuba’s cigars.

Imperial Brands PLC, which is headquartered in Bristol, United Kingdom, is a £30 billion ($39 billion) company that makes cigarettes and mass-market cigars, and has a logistics business, in addition to making premium cigars. Its brands include Winston, Kool and Salem cigarettes, as well as Dutch Masters and Backwoods mass-market cigars.

Imperial announced the intent to get out of the premium cigar business this morning, calling the move part of a £2 billion ($2.6 billion) divestment program.

“The sale of the business provides an attractive opportunity to realize shareholder value,” Imperial said in a statement this morning. “The program supports Imperial’s ongoing simplification agenda and will release capital to pay down debt and, where appropriate, invest in its growth agenda.”

Imperial Brands acquired Altadis S.A. in 2007 for 16.2 billion euros, or $22.4 billion at the time. Imperial’s premium cigar division is run by Fernando Domínguez, premium cigar director of Imperial Brands, who has been part of the company (or its predecessors) for more than 30 years. The U.S. operations are run by Javier Estades, president and CEO of Tabacalera USA. Imperial’s chairman is Mark Williamson, and its CEO is Alison Cooper.

Altadis U.S.A. Inc.

More in Cigar Industry

See all
2019 Big Smoke Las Vegas Weekend: Photo Gallery

2019 Big Smoke Las Vegas Weekend: Photo Gallery

A look back at some of the best moments from the 2019 Big Smoke Las Vegas evening parties and daytime …

Nov 22, 2019
2019 Big Smoke Sunday Seminars: Tasting Away in Tequilaville

2019 Big Smoke Sunday Seminars: Tasting Away in Tequilaville

Tequila and mezcal were the topics of the Tasting Away in Tequilaville seminar on Sunday at the 2019 …

Nov 21, 2019
2019 Big Smoke Sunday Seminars: Cigar Lovers’ Breakfast

2019 Big Smoke Sunday Seminars: Cigar Lovers’ Breakfast

The Big Smoke Sunday Seminar crowd refueled with some hearty food, strong coffee and a hair of the …

Nov 21, 2019
2019 Big Smoke Sunday Seminars: Roll Your Own Cigar

2019 Big Smoke Sunday Seminars: Roll Your Own Cigar

You will probably gain a new appreciation for cigars if you go to a factory and see how they’re made. …

Nov 21, 2019
STG Names New President of North American Online and Retail Division

STG Names New President of North American Online and Retail Division

Scandinavian Tobacco Group has announced Sarah Santos will soon take over for Craig Reynolds, the …

Nov 21, 2019
2019 Big Smoke Saturday Seminars: Lunch with Plasencia Cigars

2019 Big Smoke Saturday Seminars: Lunch with Plasencia Cigars

After a morning filled with educational seminars and no shortage of fine cigars, it was only fitting …

Nov 20, 2019