21 August 2010

Philip Morris inaugurates 2nd phase of Subic leaf warehouse

Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI) unveiled here on Thursday its new P600-milllion facility, the second phase of its P1-billion tobacco leaf storage hub project for Asia-Pacific operations.

This new facility boosted PMPMI’s leaf storage capacity from 6,100 metric tons to 14,000 metric tons, and would also allow expansion up to 10,000 tons more, said PMPMI managing director Christopher Nelson during the posh inauguration ceremony held at PMPMI’s 50,000 square-meter lot at the Subic Techno Park here.

“This development establishes the Philippines—particularly the Subic Bay Freeport Zone—as a major center for regional tobacco leaf trading and distribution,” said Nelson in his inaugural message.

“As Philip Morris grows its business in the Philippines, we will continue to act as a responsible corporate citizen and to conduct our business with the highest degree of integrity,” he told guests that included former Sen. Richard Gordon, Bureau of Customs deputy commissioner Alexander Arevalo, and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza.

For his part, Arreza said that PMPMI’s decision to locate its international leaf tobacco warehouse in this free port “is a clear manifestation of Subic Bay’s business advantages—its strategic location, business incentives, support industries, security and skilled workforce.”

“Thank you for your strong belief in our country, in our people, and in Subic Bay. SBMA salutes Philip Morris for its vote of confidence in Subic, and for its commitment to further socio-economic progress in this region,” Arreza added.

According to Nelson, the Subic facility is one of their largest investments in Southeast Asia. The firm has also invested $300 million for a cigarette factory in Tanauan, Batangas in 2003.

He added that Philip Morris International has chosen the Subic Bay Freeport over Singapore, Malaysia, and other Asian sites based on the advantages of location, cost efficiency, as well as support from partner government agency.

The professional attitude of the workforce in the Subic Bay Freeport was also “one of the key factors” in choosing Subic, added Nelson.

Nelson also cited the indigenous Aeta tribe in the Subic Bay Freeport for allowing part of their ancestral domain to be used for development.

The new Philip Morris warehouse features state-of-the-art humidity control, fire suppression equipment, and air conditioning system to better handle tobacco leaf imports from China, Indonesia, Thailand, and India, among others.

“As with other investments of Phillip Morris here in the Philippines, this leaf warehouse further cements our commitment to the economic development of the country,” Nelson concluded. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO: PMPMI managing director Christopher Nelson presents a token of appreciation to Subic Aeta elder Bonifacio Florentino during the inauguration of Philip Morris’s leaf tobacco warehouse at the Subic Bay Freeport. Also in photo are Aeta leader Leonardo Abraham, former Sen. Richard Gordon and SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza.