PMI to invest up to EUR 500 million in Italy

Philip Morris International (PMI) announced it will invest as much as EUR 500 million (USD 680 million) to build a manufacturing facility and pilot plant for reduced-risk tobacco products near Bologna, Italy.

Construction of the main plant will start immediately and last about two years, the company said. The smaller facility is near completion, and will make products for pilot and initial market launches, PMI said. The company currently operates a filter factory, Intertaba, in the region.

“Development and commercialisation of reduced-risk products represents a significant step toward achieving the public health objective of harm reduction, a potential paradigm shift for the industry, and an important growth opportunity for PMI. This first factory investment is a milestone in our roadmap toward making these products available to adult smokers," said Chief Executive Officer André Calantzopoulos.

PMI did not specify what potentially risk reducing products it intended to produce. The company previously announced plans to enter the e-cigarette market in the second half of 2014, and that it has another product that it will begin testing in selected markets this year with a full launch planned for 2015.

PMI also became exclusive marketer for Altria Group (Philip Morris USA) e-cigarette products outside the US. Annual capacity of new facilities in Italy will be as much as 30 billion units and PMI said it expects to add as many as 600 employees by 2016. 

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