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Cuban cigar maker eyes 25-30% of US market if embargo lifted

Cuban cigar maker eyes 25-30% of US market if embargo lifted
Reuters

Cuban cigar-maker Habanos S.A. envisions gaining 25 percent to 30
percent of the U.S. premium cigar market if the United States lifts its
trade embargo on Cuba, potentially selling 70 million to 90 million
cigars per year, the company said on Monday.

Habanos S.A., a 50-50 joint venture between the Cuban state and Imperial
Tobacco, generated sales of $439 million in 2014 without direct access
to the U.S. market. The company is also the monopoly guarantor of Cuba’s
signature export.

The prospect of the United States lifting its 53-year-old embargo
improved after the United States and Cuba announced on Dec. 17 their
intention to restore diplomatic relations.

Read MoreHere’s what $100 gets you in Cuban rum and cigars
In regulations published since then the United States now allows
American travelers to Cuba to legally bring back up to $100 worth of
tobacco and alcohol for personal use, which Habanos S.A. said would have
an immediate impact on its sales in Cuba.

With time Habanos S.A. would expect to capture 70 percent of the U.S.
market,similar to the market share it has elsewhere in the world,
company executives told reporters at the start of Cuba’s annual cigar
festival.

“We estimate that in the first years we could have a market share
between 25 and 30 percent, and some might consider that figure a little
conservative,” said Jorge Luis Fernandez Maique, commercial
vice-president for Habanos S.A. “But I can tell you that with that
figure,25 percent, we would be the market leaders.”

Source: Cuban cigar maker eyes 25-30% of US market if embargo lifted –
http://www.cnbc.com/id/102447828#.

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