MANILA, Philippines - Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) Inc. doesn't seem to be too bothered by alleged tax evasion by competitors, at least not enough to stop it from investing P2.2 billion ($50 million) in a tobacco plantation in Mindanao in the next six years.
"We're starting up a whole new operation down there because it's quite a unique project that we got, it's only the second place in the world where we grow tobacco twice a year," PMFTC president Paul Riley said.
The amount would be used to expand its operations in the tobacco plantation in Claveria, Misamis Oriental which is known for growing Virginia tobacco, an export-oriented tobacco variety.
"We've invested a lot of capital expenditure there. We’re helping farmers down there now, so we're starting up a whole new operation. We’re building curing barns, seedling trays as we provide seedlings to the farmers," Riley said.
Riley said the investment reflects PMFTC's long-term commitment to the Philippines.
"We're not going away so we have to invest in the future," he said.
PMFTC, a joint venture of Philip Morris and Lucio Tan's Fortune Tobacco, set up the farm in 2012.
PMFTC has been pressing the Bureau of Internal Revenue to take steps to address alleged tax evasion by Mighty Corp. The tobacco giant says this has allowed Mighty to underprice it and take away market share.