Seklaoui: Lebanon has become the most important Middle East institution for tobacco production

20 June 2018
 Regie signs agreement with JTI to produce some of its products
Local production of foreign cigarettes reaches 110 thousand boxes in 2019

Production lines of Regie increase from 5 to 10 by the end of 2018
The Regie Libanaise des Tabacs et Tombacs signed on Thursday an agreement with the international Japanese tobacco company “Japan Tobacco International” (JIT), one of the most prominent international tobacco companies, to produce some of its products at the Regie factory; a matter that increases the number of foreign cigarettes produced by Regie up to 110 thousand boxes in 2019.

The ceremony was attended by the Director General of Regie, Engineer Nassif Seklaoui, along with engineers Georges Hobeika and Mazen Abboud, Dr. Issam Salman, Government Commissioner Ms. Mirna Baz, Financial Controller Ms. Carol Youssef Aoun along with a number of officials, heads of departments and heads of sales. 

As from the company, a delegation attended the ceremony including Vice President General Manager of JTI for the Middle-East, Graham Gibbons, General Manager of JTI for Lebanon Fady El-Hajj, the Director of Institutional and Communication Affairs for the Middle East Hady Sleiman, Vice President General Manager of Shisha International Majd Abdo, Middle East Legal Director Christine Deroyan, Legal Director for Business Development Nasser Aqel, Director of Business Development Tibo Agitaz and Regional Director of Corporate Development Santiago Leiro. 


In his speech, Eng. Seklaoui stressed on the development made by Regie across all sectors, mainly the industrial sector and said: “by the end of 2018, 5 production lines will be added to the current lines to make them 10 production lines,” and described Lebanon as “the most important institution in the Middle East for tobacco production.”

Expressing pride in signing this agreement with JTI which is considered one of the most prominent international companies, Seklaoui pointed out that Regie will produce at the first stage JTI’s 100 mm and 83 mm Winchester and will then include other types such as Winston. “The initial manufacturing trials were conducted successfully,” Eng. Seklaoui said, adding that “the share of foreign cigarettes produced locally will increase up to 65 thousand boxes annually by the end of 2018 after JTI had become part of the local manufacturing map, and will increase up to 110 thousand boxes during 2019.”


For his part, Gibbons delivered a speech on behalf of JTI saying that signing this agreement allows the company to produce Winchester cigarettes locally in partnership with Regie. 

“From now on, this product will be manufactured in Lebanon in the same quality using tobacco and products provided by JTI and under its supervision while using the latest manufacturing facilities available at Regie.”

He also added that “the Lebanese-made Winchester will be on the market soon and will be sold to consumers at a new price of LBP 1,250”.

Gibbons also noted that manufacturing Winchester in Lebanon is a first step as he is expecting the announcement of further initiatives for the local production of other JTI products in the near future.”

He also tackled the issue of illegal trade pointing out that it is a major challenge for tobacco production in Lebanon, emphasizing that 30% of tobacco products consumed in the Lebanese market today are smuggled.

“This has a negative impact on all tobacco-producing companies, on the revenues of the Lebanese state, on the possibility of creating job opportunities, and therefore this illegal trade must be stopped.”

In the same regard, he praised the conference organized by Regie on the issue of illegal trade, saying it showed Regie’s commitment to eliminate this trade, and voicing the company’s readiness to support the efforts of Regie and the Lebanese Customs and other law enforcement agencies to end this illegal trade.

Content of agreement

The agreement was signed by Engineer Hobeika from the Lebanese side and Gibbons from the company. It is expected that the monthly production of Winchester scale of 100 mm and 83 mm reaches about 5,500 boxes. The manufacturing team at Regie and the team from JTI will manufacture the first quantity estimated at 2,200 boxes over the weekend.

JTI is considered one of the most prominent international tobacco companies as it has 40 thousand employees from 100 nationalities and 400 offices, 5 research centers, 27 production factories, and 5 sorting factories. Its products are distributed in 130 countries and it imports tobacco from 36 countries. JTI owns internationally-known types such as Winston, Silk Cut, Glamour, and Camel. It also produces e-cigarettes Logic and Ploom which are based on heating the tobacco rather than burning it.
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