An Istanbul-based joint venture between Turkish and Cuban tobacco companies will start cigar production in January, a Turkish minister said Thursday. Turkey will invite Cuban President Fidel Castro to the inauguration of the plant, State Minister Rustu Kazim Yucelen said after a meeting here with Cuban Light Industry Minister Jesus Perez Othon, according to Anatolia news agency.
The company, TECA, a joint venture between Turkey's state tobacco monopoly TEKEL and its Cuban counterpart, was established in late 1998 with an initial capital of three million dollars.
In 2001 and 2002, TECA will produce 10 million and 12.5 million Corona-type cigars respectively from Cuban tobacco. In 2003, the company will increase its output to 15 million cigars. One third of the amount will be produced using a mélange of Turkish and Cuban tobacco and will be destined for the Turkish market.
Turkey produces 350,000 tones of tobacco annually, according to official figures. TEKEL's annual cigar production of pure Turkish tobacco stands at 2.5 million, a part of which is exported to European countries and the United States. The Turks consume five million cigars annually. — (AFP-Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)