HEETS capacity building

Philip Morris International said today that it was planning to invest about €490 million in transforming its cigarette production factory in Otopeni, near Bucharest, Romania, into a high-tech facility for manufacturing HEETS, the tobacco units used with the electronic tobacco heating device IQOS.

‘The conversion of the factory into a HEETS production facility has already commenced and is expected to be completed and fully operational by 2020, the company said in a note posted on its website.

‘The investment will create about 300 additional jobs for highly-skilled employees at the Romanian facility, which currently employs approximately 600 people.’

Romania will join a growing list of countries where PMI manufactures heated tobacco units for IQOS.

‘Earlier this month, PMI announced plans to install two new high-tech production lines in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, to produce HEETS,’ the note said.

‘In June, PMI announced it would expand capacity at the company’s heated tobacco unit manufacturing facility in Bologna, Italy and also announced plans to build a new facility for HEETS in Dresden, Germany. In addition, PMI will also convert its cigarette factories in Greece and Russia and by the end of 2018, PMI plans to have a total annual installed capacity of approximately 100 billion heated tobacco units.’

IQOS and HEETS have been available in Bucharest since November 2015 and in 16 cities throughout Romania from the beginning of this year.

IQOS is said to be available in key cities in more than 27 markets and is expected to be available in 30-35 markets, either key cities or nationwide, by the end of 2017, as capacity permits.

“Our investment in Romania further demonstrates our commitment to a future in which smoke-free products ultimately replace cigarettes,” said André Calantzopoulos, PMI’s CEO. “We are encouraged by the 2.9 million smokers around the world who have already given up smoking and switched to IQOS. We expect this momentum to continue and the conversion of the Romanian facility will help us to meet the growing demand from adult smokers for better alternatives to cigarettes.”

IQOS is one of what PMI refers to as four scientifically substantiated smoke-free product platforms that it is developing ‘to address adult smoker demand for better alternatives to cigarettes’.

‘Since 2008, PMI has hired more than 400 scientists and experts and invested over US$3 billion in research, product development and scientific substantiation for smoke-free products,’ the note said. ‘The company openly shares its scientific methodologies and findings for independent third-party review and verification, and has published its research in over 200 articles and book chapters since 2011. Results of scientific research conducted by PMI to date indicate that IQOS is likely to reduce the risk of harm compared to cigarette smoking, and is a better choice for those who would otherwise continue to smoke.’