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October 28, 2020

‘Carpati’ cigarettes nearing last smoke

The last Romanian cigarette factory is on the verge of close-down six years after privatization. Together with the factory, the legends of domestic ‘Carpati’, ‘Snagov’ and ‘Marasesti’ tobacco are also dying, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ daily informs. On February 17, tax authorities sealed off the only equipment in the country that was still producing legendary local tobacco brands. The reason was the quash of a decision that the authorities would take over a historical debt that, in turn, led to the factory’s losing its production licence. On Friday, the 103 workers were sent on technical unemployment at least until the situation is resolved in court.

No one can understand why the factory is closing down. Official explanation is that, upon privatisation, the company had a certain debt which was turned into state aid through the sale agreement, but the state aid was never really granted. It seems it is the fault of the authorities who were supposed to take the necessary steps for the aid to become legal.

The Sfantu Gheorghe cigarette factory had revamped its technology and was producing an average of 70 tons every month. At the moment, around 60 tons of packed cigarettes are waiting to be shipped. Those are a bit more obscure brands ordered from other countries. If the factory stays closed another day, all the employees can do is smoke all cigarettes. ‘No one will ever buy them anyway. It is a market that can be lost very easily’, says factory Manager Gherghina Rada, a tobacco technician with more than 60 years experience and former employee of the late cigarette factory in Bucharest.

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