Habanos SA is the arm of the Cuban state tobacco monopoly, Cubatabaco, that controls the promotion, distribution, and export of Cuban cigars and other tobacco products worldwide. The word habanos (not normally capitalised) means literally (something) from Havana, and is the word used in the Spanish-speaking world for Havana cigars and, sometimes, cigars in general. Habanos SA owns the trademarks of every brand of Cuban-made cigars and cigarettes in the countries they are exported to and franchises the La Casa del Habano chain of cigar stores. To control distribution and protect against counterfeiting, Habanos SA exports to only one company in each country (Hunter & Frankau for Great Britain and Gibraltar, 5th Avenue Cigars for Germany, Intertabak for Switzerland, Pacific Cigar Co. for most of the Pacific Rim, etc.). The only nation to which Habanos SA doesn't sell cigars is the United States, which has had a trade embargo against Cuba since 1962.
In 2000, the Franco-Spanish tobacco giant Altadis purchased 50% of Habanos SA. There has been speculation that their influence has led to Habanos' drastic restructuring of their cigar lines and size offerings, the adoption of marketing practices and production methods more in-line with cigar companies that market in the US, and the increasing number of "special release" and "limited edition" lines of cigars. It has also been suggested that Altadis might be ramping Habanos up ready to trade with the US, anticipating the end of the embargo.
Swedish Match AB reaches cigar settlement with Cuban tobacco companies.(Cubatabaco)(Habanos SA)(brand name case)(Company Brief)(Industry Legal Issue)(Brief Article)
Oct 10, 2002; NORDIC BUSINESS REPORT-10 October 2002-Swedish Match AB reaches cigar settlement with Cuban tobacco companies (C)1994-2002 M2...