HAVANA._ Executives of the Habanos S.A. Corporation have hailed the talks between Cuba and the U.S. regarding the normalization of relations and forthcoming events as they could favorably impact the sale of cigars.

Executives of the Habanos S.A. Corporation have hailed the talks between Cuba and the U.S. regarding the normalization of relations and forthcoming events as they could favorably impact the sale of cigars.The Habanos S.A. company is the global leader in Premium (hand rolled) cigars and the organizer of the annual Habano Festival whose recent 17th edition proved, once again, that it is the best event to present new rings and update participants on brands.

At the event’s opening ceremony, the company’s vicepresident for Commerce, Jorge Luis Fernández, and for Development, Javier Terres, spoke of the potential effects of possible normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations and the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade.

Such moves could help enhance Cuban cigar culture in the country, might multiply the presence of authentic Cuban brands and facilitate the natural and spontaneous selection of such products by potential consumers.

Although they described any quantifying of the size of the U.S. tourist market as premature, they forecast a possible rise in sales, something they agreed would be a positive effect.

Fernández and Terres also anticipated that possible progress would have a symbolic impact on the corporation’s commercial activity because more genuine Cuban products could occupy a legitimate space in this important market, having been outlawed for many years.

The Cuban tobacco industry has a constantly renovating developmental strategy which ensures that, in case the blockade is lifted, it would be well placed to satisfy demand within this highly competitive market.

The global demand for Premium cigars is around 400 million units, with the U.S. – the single biggest consumer – accounting for between 260 and 270 million, or almost 70 percent of the total.

Both executives emphasized that quality would never decrease as for Habanos S.A.´s greater production goes hand in hand with increased quality, something backed up by a 500-year history that has enabled it to be a leader from raw material to finished product. They indicated that, from a commercial point of view, in the first years they could potentially control 25-30 percent of the U.S market, which would make them number one in the country with significant sales potentially ranging from 70 to 100 million units.Without ruling out the introduction of new brands, they noted the efficacy of the firm’s current global distribution model, to which they would remain loyal should the U.S. market open.

Habanos S.A. has 27 Premium brands, with more than 100 types, that could satisfy all consumers including those from the U.S..

The company’s principal markets are Spain, France, China – including Hong Kong and Macao – followed by Germany and Switzerland.

Cohiba is its best selling brand with Montecristo and Romeo and Julieta coming close behind.

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