Little known Lanka based firm a big player in Belgium cigar supremacy
Posted on June 6th, 2013

PRESS COMMUNIQUE “”…” MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY & COMMERCE, SRI LANKA

“”…” JUNE 05, 2013

  • Belgium’s second cigar Brand gets 250 Mn from Sri Lanka annually
  • “ƒ”¹…”Govt steps to draw investments praiseworthy’ Blomme
  • Readying to double output for its two consumer segments

tobaco

Emmanuel Blomme (CEO of United Tobacco Processing Ltd-centre) stresses a point to Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce-left)  on 30 May in Colombo as Jos de Clerqc, the Trade & Investment Commissioner of “Flanders Investment & Trade” looks on.

A little known Lanka based BoI sister firm of a century old Belgium cigar maker not only feeds the parent’s huge supply chain, but also is successful in nurturing a special brand identity in a competitive European segment. “J.Cortes is a collection of 100% selected tobacco. The tobaccos for our J. CortƒÆ’†’¨s brand is selected from only the finest Cuban Havana, Brazilian Bahia and Indonesian Java tobaccos” said Emmanuel Blomme, CEO of United Tobacco Processing Ltd (UTP) on 30 May in Colombo.

UTP is a Sri Lankan BoI firm and the sister firm of the Belgium’s of J. CortƒÆ’†’¨s Cigars nv.

J. CortƒÆ’†’¨s Cigars nv is the second largest manufacturer of cigars in Belgium and the first ranked cigar exporter in Belgium, taking almost 50% of the total Belgian export of cigars. In France J. CortƒÆ’†’¨s France has a market share of about 15.1%. The European consumption of cigars averages at six billion sticks per annum. J. CortƒÆ’†’¨s nv has three key brands- J.Cortes, “ƒ”¹…”NEOS’ and “ƒ”¹…”Amigos’. The Sri Lanka operation feeds in to the J.Cortes (100% selected tobacco) brand.

Blomme, who also discussed with Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce on 30 May during the same day evening session where Minister met the visiting Flanders Belgium trade and investment delegation (led by Jos de Clerqc, the Trade & Investment Commissioner of “Flanders Investment & Trade”), also praised Minister Bathiudeen on the government’s incentives for investors and export diversification.

Blomme, whose Colombo operations sources fine Indonesian tobacco, stressed to Minister Bathiudeen: “Pan-GSP countries cooperation can bring great benefits to emerging economies such as Sri Lanka.”

“The overall group strength of J Cortes is more than two million cigars per day and the Group is exporting to more than 80 countries” added Blomme, who’s unusual promotional video footages made in Colombo plant show his FTZ workers and even the security guards performing their duty shifts in hi-speed song and dance moves “as part of the complete Cortes family” appears to defy the gravitational pull of Trade Union forces in the Zone.

The ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified Sri Lanka operations of J Cortes reaches both retails and business to business (B2B) consumer segments. “In addition to the 250 Mn Cigars produced in Sri Lanka destined for Europe, Colombo’s United Tobacco Processing’ also currently supplies one billion cigar cuts to various Cigar manufacturers around the globe. It is this B2B capacity we are strengthening” Emmanuel revealed.

“Our investment here already exceeds Euro 15 Mn. We have decided to double our Sri Lanka output capacity in our B2B segment and recruit at least 1000 more to our BoI operations. We want to double our cigar-cuts output to two billion per annum” Emmanuel added.

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