SOURCE: Altadis

January 24, 2007 10:07 ET

ALTADIS : Régie des Tabacs renamed Altadis Maroc

PARIS -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 24, 2007 --

Régie des Tabacs renamed Altadis Maroc

Régie des Tabacs has been officially renamed Altadis Maroc, following the increase in Altadis' interest in the company from 80% to 100%.

The 80% interest in Régie des Tabacs was acquired in 2003. At the time, a shareholders' agreement was signed with the Moroccan government stipulating that Altadis could later acquire the remaining 20%, which it did in July 2006.

The new name complies with the brand structure of subsidiaries in which Altadis holds a majority interest.

Altadis Maroc is a major player in the Moroccan market, with net revenue of EUR 338 million in 2005 and 1,555 employees. By pooling the capabilities of its teams in Morocco, France and Spain, Altadis launched a vast development project for its subsidiary that, in three years, has enabled it to achieve remarkable growth in both cigarettes and logistics, the Group's two core businesses. The cigar business, although more recent is showing positive, signs of growth.

In a Moroccan market representing an estimated 13.8 billion cigarettes, Altadis Maroc's unit sales of blond cigarettes rose to 8.1 billion in 2006 from 5.8 billion in 2002. Growth was driven by improvements made in its flagship Marquise brand and the successful introduction of the Group's international brands, Fortuna and Gauloises Blondes.

Leveraging the Group's expertise, the subsidiary also successfully diversified its logistics business to include non-tobacco products and implemented major initiatives to modernize the distribution of tobacco products in Morocco.

Altadis Maroc is actively cooperating with the Moroccan government regarding the need to develop tobacco farming. The company has been put in charge of implementing two plans by end of December 2010, one to develop blond tobacco farming, in partnership with the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture, and the other to encourage growers of dark tobacco to switch to blond.

The Group's goal is to significantly improve Altadis Maroc's performance in both tobacco and logistics, in preparation for the opening up of the Moroccan tobacco market scheduled for 2010.

This information is provided by CompanynewsGroup

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