Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 3

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tobaccoasia 55 (Images courtesy of Parvomay BT) (Images courtesy of Parvomay BT) Testing equipment in Parvomay's physical QC lab Processing line at Parvomay BT are very proud to be currently working with brand new, high-end MacTavish equipment, which en- joys worldwide reputation." Further investments – some of them already undertaken - will be in the direction of automated quality control systems and the installment of faster and easier to operate measuring equipment on the line and in the labs. "We are also going to try out a few improve- ments in the working process to further increase the capacity per hour and thus to achieve more ef- ficient production." The company's current hourly processing capacity can reach up to three metric tons, depending on tobacco type, and its total an- nually processed amount for the past five years has been 5,000 to 6,000 tons on average, a figure that can be increased as needed. Trust Tobacco: trusting in Laos Reinvigorating a faltering leaf supplying business is one thing, but setting up a brand new one in the middle of nowhere is something completely dif- ferent. The land-locked Southeast Asian country of Laos may be better known for its topographical beauty and exotic culture rather than – with a pop- ulation of less than seven million people spread out over an area roughly the size of the United Kingdom – its economic development and bur- geoning industry. Yet Laos does grow a modest amount of tobacco, which is perhaps the reason why Singaporean trading company Trust Tobacco PTE Ltd. decided on investing in a large-scale to- bacco processing plant there, Trust Tobacco In- dustry Import and Export Company. Established in December of 2007 near the an- cient royal capital of Luang Prabang in the north- ern part of the country, Trust Tobacco Industry Import and Export Company claims to currently be Laos' largest privately owned and operated leaf processor, fully licensed by the government. Covering a total area of 18.24 hectares (approximately 45 acres), the fac- tory grounds comprise processing and manufacturing facilities, warehouses, offices, worker and executive staff residences, as well as test planting plots and some commercial tobacco fields. According to the company website, about US$16 million of investment have so far been poured into fixed assets and production equipment, of which around $2 million were used for setting up a tobacco growing project and $8 million have been allocated as liquidity funds to operate the business. In terms of organizational structure, the operation is divided into a production depart- ment, planting department, marketing, import and export department, ware- housing department, quality control department, administration department, and financial department. The production department comprises a grading line, a threshing and re-drying line, a cut rag line, and a cigarette making line. Meanwhile, the marketing, import and export department covers all purchas- ing and sales matters and prepares all relevant documentation according to overseas customers' requirements. The administration department is respon- sible for in-house logistics, ensures smooth working processes and targeted production output. The main task of the planting department is to experiment with tobacco cultivation methods to produce good, viable tobacco seeds, as well as to conduct local farmer education. State-of-the-art production lines Trust Tobacco's threshing line consists of five machines with an hourly ca- pacity of 3,000 kilograms, which can be increased to 4,500 kg/h depending on need. The fully-automated lamina re-dryers and stem re-dryers remove excess moisture to meet prescribed limits. The tobacco grading line consists of six belt conveyers to separate green tobacco into different grades. The cut rag line also is fully automated, integrating cutting, blending and flavoring to specifications. It currently has an hourly capacity of 1,500 kilograms. Most recently, Trust Tobacco also installed a cigarette making line with a capacity of 48 shipping cartons per hour, or 200,000 cartons annually. While this line was primarily put into operation to manufacture the Singaporean investors' proprietary Lionger cigarette brand range (which apparently is currently be- ing marketed both in Singapore and Hong Kong), the Laos outfit welcomes inquiries from third parties to have their cigarette brands produced in remote Luang Prabang.

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