Having survived through numerous wars and economic crises over nearly a century of operation, Papastratos, a Greek tobacco producer, has developed built-in system for planning to get through the worst. Now that Greece is emerging from the most recent crisis, Christos Charpantidis, CEO of Papastratos, says the company is strategically prepared to launch a newly renovated production facility.
How did Papastratos manage to withstand the crisis?
Operating in Greece for 86 years, Papastratos has weathered wars, multiple financial crises and an abundance of other economic uncertainties. As a result, we have learned to operate through long-term planning that ensures the sustainability of our company and factory as well as the care of our employees, partners and farming communities. Furthermore, tobacco farming still exists in Greece today thanks to Philip Morris International, which has made a long-term commitment to buying over 50% of Greece’s tobacco production. Without a doubt, this gives predictability to the producers and is how we can keep supporting 60,000 families in all of the value chain and providing 2.5% of state revenue.
Why have you invested in a new factory?
Our latest investment of 300 million euros will completely convert our factory into a production facility for our heated tobacco products, the HeatSticks™, which contain real tobacco and are for use with IQOS devices. Construction works began in September, and trail operations are slated for January. The schedule is tight because we are aiming to quickly begin producing. This facility will be the third Philip Morris International factory producing the novel heated products. Moreover, this is actually the first factory that is fully converted from old production to new, from traditional cigarettes to heated tobacco products.
What economic impact will the investment have?
There will be 400 new job posts, on top of the 800 we currently have, which is very important given the high unemployment rates in Greece. Furthermore, Greek exports will be boosted, as the bigger part of our production will be exported. Thirdly, we are ensuring sustainability for the Greek tobacco farming as the new products contain also Greek oriental tobacco. And last but not least, this investment brings Greece in the forefront as far as innovation and development in the tobacco industry is concerned.
What would you like to achieve over the coming year?
We are aiming for a successful completion of this investment and for the beginning of production of the HeatSticks™ in Greece. Our overarching objective, however, with our work on all fronts – investments, production, employment, tobacco farming, corporate social responsibility – is to leave a social surplus for society in order to create substantial and sustainable value.