Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, August 20, 2010

Philip Morris inaugurates P600-M Subic warehouse

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—Philip Morris International (PMI), the country’s leading cigarette manufacturer, inaugurated yesterday its new international tobacco-leaf warehouse here, establishing this free port as a major center for regional tobacco-leaf trading and distribution.

Chris Nelson, managing director of Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI), unveiled the P600-million facility with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza and former senator Richard Gordon.

Nelson said the new facility is used to store tobacco-leaf products for shipment and processing in various Philip Morris cigarette factories in the Asia-Pacific region.

“As with the other investments of Philip Morris here in the Philippines, this leaf warehouse further cements our commitment to the economic development of the country,” Nelson said in his inauguration message.

“Philip Morris International again renews its commitment as an active partner and contributor to Philippine economic growth through this new regional leaf warehouse in Subic,” he added.

“As Philip Morris grows its business in the Philippines, we will continue to act as a responsible corporate citizen and to conduct our business with the highest degree of integrity,” Nelson said.

The new warehouse was built in just seven months on a 20,000-square-meter (sq m) lot that the PMI had leased from the SBMA at the Subic Techno Park for 50 years.

Nelson said the new facility marks the second phase of PMI’s venture in the Subic Bay free port, with the first phase of the project involving the P30-million renovation of a 10,000-sq-m warehouse that could only store some 6,100 metric tons (MT) of tobacco leaf.

“The new P600-million warehouse we now see stands on a 20,000-sq-m lot out of the almost 50,000-sq-m total land area that we have leased from the SBMA for 50 years,” Nelson said.

Nelson also acknowledged the support of indigenous Aeta tribesmen in the Subic free port, who, he said, “allowed the use of a part of their ancestral domain for development.”

Nelson also said the new PMI warehouse can store 14,000 MT of tobacco leaf, but its capacity can actually be expanded further to accommodate 10,000 MT more of tobacco leaves for PMI’s Asia-Pacific operations.

The warehouse boasts of state-of-the-art features, such as humidity control, fire-suppression equipment and air-conditioning system, Nelson said.

He said the temperature-control system is important “to handle and carefully preserve the tobacco leaf we import from China, Indonesia, Thailand and India, among others.”

In the same occasion, Nelson thanked the SBMA, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Bureau of Customs “for making the new venture possible.”

“We are especially proud that PMI has chosen the Subic Bay Free Port Zone from among several locations in Southeast Asia,” Nelson also said. “It is a very ideal location that provides advantages in cost and efficiency over the countries where PMI’s tobacco leaves were previously kept.”

PMI is now the leading international tobacco company, with seven of the world’s top 15 brands, including Marlboro, which is the number-one brand worldwide. It previously invested some $300 million in the construction of a first-class cigarette-manufacturing facility in Tanauan City, Batangas, in 2003.

In February PMPMI, a local affiliate of PMI, united its business operations with Fortune Tobacco Corp., resulting in a new company called PMFTC Inc. Written by Henry Empeño / Correspondent businessmirror.com.ph

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