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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 22:09 GMT 23:09 UK
Philip Morris lights up in Mexico
Packet of Marlboro cigarettes
Mexico has one of the highest rates of smoking in Latin America
Cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris has spent more than $1bn strengthening its presence in Mexico.

The US tobacco giant is buying a further 30% stake in Mexican counterpart Grupo Carso, taking its total shareholding to 80%.

Philip Morris has a 63% share of all tobacco sales in Mexico, where 48 billion cigarettes were sold last year.

Its Marlboro brand is the most popular in Mexico, accounting for more than 47% of all cigarette sales.

'Confidence'

Like other leading cigarette firms, Philip Morris is expanding in emerging markets where there are fewer restrictions on smoking and advertising tobacco products.

"Today's announcement demonstrates our ongoing commitment to Mexico and our confidence in the future of our business in Latin America," said Andre Calantzopoulos, chief executive of Philip Morris International.

Philip Morris, which is owned by US conglomerate Altria, has an estimated 15% share of global cigarette sales.




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