Marlboro maker Philip Morris has invested €300 million (A$449.1 million) in its Greek unit Papastratos to convert the cigarette plant into a maker of tobacco sticks for its smokeless IQOS product.
Launched in 2014, the IQOS device heats tobacco refills to produce tobacco-flavoured vapour instead of burning it, which produces hazardous smoke and tar. It is a hybrid of traditional and electronic cigarettes.
Following the announcement in March, the tobacco company has moved forward with their project to boost the Greek economy.
The investment, which has opened 400 new staff positions in Greece, was announced while there was still much distance to be covered between Athens and its creditors.
Papastratos, a wholly owned subsidiary of its New York-based parent company, is the largest manufacturer and distributor of cigarettes in Greece, with revenue in 2015 of €1.3 billion (A$1.9 billion) with a 40 percent share of the domestic market. The project will bring three new buildings at Papastratos’ facility in Aspropyrgos, outside Athens, with new lines of tobacco processing and production of refills for IQOS.
“We are implementing what Greece needs right now, investments, new jobs and exports,” Harpantidis told reporters.
“We will be making a product that will be exported to more than 30 countries around the world.”
Papastratos has announced it will be hiring production process technicians, maintenance process electricians, IS systems analysts, HR staff, and engineers.