SOUZA CRUZ (Brazil) and TABACUBA (Cuba)

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In the first months of 1995, Cubans and Brazilians were making previous arrangements for the merger of Souza Cruz Company from Brazil and Tabacuba from Cuba. Expectations were big for both sides until joint venture company BRASCUBA Cigarrillos S.A. came into being upon the inking of the agreement that provided a change in the appearance, contents and brands of the Cuban cigarettes.

BRASCUBA Cigarrillos S.A. is the company in charge of manufacturing, distributing, and selling Cuban cigarettes in hard currency in the domestic market, and for exportation. It was created thanks to the integration of Unión de Empresas del Tabaco (Uneta-Tobacco Companies Association) under the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture that collaborates its centenarian tradition as the producer of the best tobacco of the world, the secrets of its harvesters, its expertise on black cigarettes, and a qualified staff and brands.

Brazilian Souza Cruz Company, a British American Tobacco member, the leader in the Brazilian market of cigarettes, provides to the merger its over 100 years expertise as a cigarettes manufacturer, its working capital, technical support, leading-edge technology, Virginia tobacco and brands.
In this merger, Cuba used one of its factories, René Arcay in Luyanó (1883), considered an icon in this sector for having been one of the first Cuban factories where machinery was introduced, mild cigarettes were manufactured and remarkable historical events took place such as the cigarettes manufacturers strike in the 1930´s.

After the creation of the joint venture company – the outcome of the dreams and efforts of Cubans and Brazilians – a capital remodelling of the building was inititated, respecting the architectural style, and key steps were taken: the selection, preparation and training of the personnel, a market research, the decision on brands, sales areas, systems and procedures to be used, and everything related to the future of the company.

In early 1996, machinery arrived and Brazilian technicians started assembling them as the Cubans learned the new technologies and had their training. Instructors – Brazilian female operators – arrived right afterwards to train their Cuban counterparts. This meant that all BRASCUBA Cigarrillos S.A. operators have had an integral training which enables them to work with any of the machines incorporated to the working process.

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On June 15, 1996, the start-up  of the factory took place and commercial operations were initiated on June 20. BRASCUBA announced its first creation: POPULAR black cigarettes which had an innovation in the Cuban market with the use of a high quality filter and polypropylene to protect the package. With the commercial slogan “I am Cuban, I am Popular,” it immediately gained acceptance and a position among the island´s consumers.

Year after year, important technological upgradings have been done, national and international brands have been introduced and a solid portfolio has been established that satisfies the different segments of consumers.

Its products have been awarded with the Gold Medal for quality bestowed by the relevant Cuban authorities. In 2007, they also received the certification for ISO 9001 Standards of 2000. All this thanks to an obvious fulfilment of its mission and vision ruled by accountability and respect for the clients.

Overall, these results have been possible by guaranteeing:
  • The selection of the best raw materials.
  • A high reliability and accurateness of high-tech equipment and systems.
  • A most strict quality control following BAT international system.
  • The selection of a highly qualified human team with about 400 workers who play a leading role in their success.
  • The conduct of strict market researches in order to know the contemporary Cuban consumer.
  • A Havana cigarettes brands portfolio in which genuine selections of the best Cuban tobacco endorse its guarantee of origin.
  • National commercialization distributing directly to almost 7,000 sales outlets.
  • Seriousness and reliability on the service rendered to international distributors.
  • Ethical and social responsibility in Cuba and in every market. A strict compliance with the protection of the consumer.
  • Shared management based on ethics, transparency and mutual respect, in an alliance with better results every day.