Philip Morris starts Asia-Pacific warehouse project in Subic

Tobacco producing giant Philip Morris International (PMI) broke ground on its new regional tobacco warehouse facility in a 50,000- square meter total land area inside Subic Techno Park that will store tobacco leaf for shipment and processing in various PMI cigarette factories in the Asia-Pacific region.

Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI) Managing Director Chris Nelson, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga and SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza led the groundbreaking Monday morning to signal the commencement of the project.

?Today we break ground in what described to be the largest humid warehouse facility that will established Subic as a major center of regional leaf tobacco trading and a major center for international distribution, ? SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said.

This new warehouse will have state-of-the-art features such as humidity control, fire suppression equipment, and air conditioning to handle the imported tobacco leaf from China, Indonesia, Thailand, and India, among others, which will be used by PMI cigarette manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia..

The expected project completion will be August this year, so definitely, the economic benefit of this project will accrued to the community in a very short period of time,? Arreza said.

What we are groundbreaking today is actually the Phase II of our investment here in Subic.. You will recall that in January 2008, exactly two years ago, we opened the first phase which was a 10,000-square meter leaf warehouse that used to be Building 8120 of SBMA located at the Boton area,? PMPMI Managing Director Chris Nelson said.

At present, the existing refurbished warehouse in Boton Area can only accommodate 6,100 metric tons of tobacco leaf. Phase-I has an initial investment of P30-million while the new project is peg at around P500-million worth of investment, Nelson said.

The new warehouse stands on a 20,000-square meter lot out of the almost 50,000-square meter total land area that we have leased from SBMA for 50 years. In the future, we could further expand the warehouse facility to handle 24,000 metric tons of tobacco depending on the region?s demand,? he added.

The construction of the Subic Techno Park warehouse, with an initial capacity of storing 14,000 metric tons of tobacco, is expected to be completed in July this year.

Nelson disclosed that Subic was chosen from among several possible locations in Southeast Asia ?as it provides reasonable advantages in cost and efficiency over the various storage areas where tobacco leaf are previously kept.?

Through the years, we have steadily expanded our investments here in the Philippines. The project that we are groundbreaking today further cements our commitment to the economic development of the country and our faith in the Philippine tobacco industry,? Nelson said.

PMI is the leading tobacco company in the world with over 15 percent share of the international adult smoking market (excluding China).

It previously invested more than $ 300 million in the construction of its first class cigarette manufacturing facility in Tanauan City, Batangas which became operational in 2003.

PMI?s affiliates, which include PMPMI, manufacture and market seven of the top 15 best selling international brands – including, the world?s number one cigarette brand. (PNA)