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POLAND

Last state-owned cigarette manufacturer privatized

11 Feb 2011. The Polish Ministry of Treasury has sold its 70-per-cent share in Zakłady Tytoniowe w Lublinie (ZTL), the last state-owned cigarette manufacturer in Poland, to French company Biosyntec.

On 3 February, Biosyntec signed the contract whereby it pays over PLN 31 million (EUR 7.9 million) for 2 million shares in the Lublin-based company.

The remaining 30 per cent of shares owned by the state treasury will be distributed among eligible employees and farmers who supply ZTL with tobacco leaves.

In a statement, Biosyntec said that it will invest over PLN 100 million over the next four years in the production of innovative cigarette filters that reduce cancer risk.

The filters which will be made by a Biosybtec-patented technology include a rosemary-based substance "which does not alter the flavor of cigarettes but whose unique properties reduce their harmful impact", according to Biosytenc.

ZTL will be the base of Biosytec's first production line of these biotechnological filters which will be produced for the Polish and foreign markets. The factory, which currently employs 160 people, may also start the production of cigarettes with other protective filters.

ZTL has been in operation for over 75 years, specializing in a wide range of smoking tobacco, cigarettes, filter tubes, cigarette papers and distribution of cigars, cigarillos as well as a large selection of smoking accessories. The company sells its products domestically and abroad, cooperating with around 100 wholesalers and 120 retail outlets.

The company also operates its own network of tobacco outlet brand Cygaleria Saloniki Tytoniowe and holds 100 per cent shares in FTK Krasnystaw, a company that contracts, purchases and processes industrial tobacco. (pi)