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18 SMOKESHOP August 2016 Industry NEWS Family-Owned Belgian Cigar Maker J. Cortès Purchases Oliva Cigar Co. miami—Belgian machine-made cigar maker J. Cortès has acquired premium cigar maker Oliva Cigars, including its sales and distribution facilities in Miami and production facil- ities in Nicaragua, effective July 1, 2016. Both J. Cortès and Oliva Cigars are privately held family-owned businesses. With the acquisition, J. Cortès says it aims to diversify its product portfolio and further establish its position in the worldwide market. The combined annual turnover of the two firms tops $100 million. "As a family, it was important to us to be part of a company who's spirit and culture is much like our own," said José Oliva, c.e.o. of Oliva Cigars, "a company that appreciates and wants to continue working with our entire team. It is a new and excit- ing chapter for our company." Oliva, who described the acquisition as an all-in win-win, will continue to run Oliva Cigars, guaranteeing the continuity of both its brands and workforce, which totals 1,115 people. J. Cortès c.e.o. Fred Vandermarliere stressed in the pur- chase announcement the he deliberately chose to maintain Oliva Cigars as a stand-alone business, including the brands it currently runs and its current management team, describ- ing this approach as the only way these two companies can really support and strengthen each other. "Oliva Cigars is a fantastic, well-run business with strong brands and plenty of future opportunities," said Vandermarliere. "This acquisition allows us to further strength- en both businesses' strategy and to stay focused on brands, people and dedication to great products for cigar lovers." J. Cortès Cigars has been in the hands of the Vandermarliere family since 1926. The West-Flemish company holds a very strong position in the European market, produc- ing 500 million machine made cigars annually, and is active in 80 countries worldwide. Core activities are brands such as J. Cortès, Neos, and Amigos. The company employs 2,250 peo- ple worldwide, with production facilities in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and in Handzame and Zwevegem, Belgium. Oliva Cigars produces 15 million high quality handmade cigars annually in Estelí, Nicaragua. Thanks to solid growth over the past decade, Oliva holds a strong position in the premium cigar market with its Oliva, NUB, and Kain brands. Fred's father and J. Cortès chairman Guido Vandermarliere, who has been active in the cigar sector for over 50 years, said, "In the long run, we can only survive as a cigar manufacturer by being active in all continents, by choosing 100 percent tobacco products made to enjoy, and by putting quality over quantity." BerettaTube•1-2V•Aug15.indd 1 9/18/15 12:00 PM > Left to right: Gilberto Oliva, Fred Vandermarliere, and José Oliva.