Philip Morris International announces partnership agreement with Macedonia-based tobacco company Tutunski Kombinat; PMI to own 51% stake in new JV

SKOPJE, Macedonia , May 28, 2014 () – As of Tuesday [27 May], Philip Morris International is the strategic partner of Prilep-based tobacco company "Tutunski Kombinat." The partnership should secure the company's solvency and stable future for about 6,000 clients and employees.

The agreement was signed in the attendance of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and Vice Premiers Zoran Stavreski and Vladimir Pesevski.

Philip Morris will own 51 per cent of shares in the new joint company, while TK-Prilep 49 per cent.

"Philip Morris will manage the company, which is very important for TK's future development, because it will obtain a know-how transfer from the leading player in the industry," said Vice Premier for Economic Affairs Pesevski.

According to him, the Macedonian people and the Government would be Philip Morris' stable partner.

"This is a hardworking nation who knows how to rewards those who treat them properly. Knowledge in Macedonia in this field, but also of Philip Morris, is truly enormous. We expect this partnership to gradually turn the company into an even bigger regional player," added Pesevski.

Philip Morris International Vice President for Southeast Europe Stacey Kennedy stressed the agreement represented a new chapter for their company, strengthening their presence in the regional tobacco industry.

"I am convinced this joint endeavour will bring mutual benefit, creating a solid foundation for the future of Macedonia's tobacco industry. It will enable the enlargement of our presence at the Macedonian market, but also further strengthen our presence in the SEE region," added Kennedy.

Vice Premier and Finance Minister Stavreski said the agreement crowned the Government's long-standing efforts to find a quality strategic partner for TK-Prilep.

"There are at least three benefits from this agreement. First, the stable future and enlarged sales for the 6,000 employees and clients. Secondly, the profitability and improvement of the company's solvency. And finally, a world-renowned brand that contributes to Macedonia's recognition as a good investment destination," said Stavreski.

TK-Prilep CEO Aleksandar Dervendziev said the strategic partnership agreement had a historic character.

"The strategic partnership with the tobacco industry giant is a prerequisite for TK-Prilep to finally lose the tag of loss-making company and become a success in this exceptionally competitive industry," said Dervendziev.

Source: MIA news agency, Skopje, in English 1239 gmt 27 May 14

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