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Cigar feud?

Cuba might upset a likely takeover bid by Imperial Tobacco for Spanish-French group Altadis because it has an option to buy the cigar division, analysts said, reports AFP (March 17, 2007). Spain's El Economista newspaper said that Cuban leader Fidel Castro "is not prepared to share the equity with a British company." The possibility for Cuba to disrupt a takeover on the stock market arises because Cuba has an option to buy the cigar business if its shareholding structure changes, they said. Altadis declined to comment and did not confirm that such a pre-emption clause on the cigar business Corporacion Habanos existed. The offshoot has been owned equally by Altadis and by the Cuban government since 2000 when Altadis bought its 50% interest. Corporacion Habanos is considered to be a jewel in the Altadis group, owning the brands of Montecristo, Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta and Partagas. It accounts for 22% of group sales and 24% of gross operating margin.
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Publication:Caribbean Update
Date:May 1, 2007
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