By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Despite the relatively recent start of the project to transform UZBAT JV into an export hub for the supply of finished tobacco products in the countries of Central Asia and Mongolia, the geography of export deliveries is expanding with each month.
Since the second half of 2018, the products of the Samarkand cigarette factory have been successfully sold in the markets of neighboring Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
Tajikistan joined these countries and the first consignment of tobacco products with the inscription “Made in Uzbekistan” was already sent to this country in December 2018.
The company is seriously focused on increasing exports of finished products and is not going to be limited only to the markets of Central Asia and Mongolia. Since December of this year, UZBAT JV has started to supply products to the Georgian market. First five trucks with a batch of products under the BAT trademarks went to Sakartvelo on December 22.
Summing up the results of 2018, JV UZBAT successfully implemented the export program planned for this year, somewhat exceeding the export forecast obtained at the beginning of the year through the line of Uzbekozikovkatholding Holding Company.
The Company has set itself even more ambitious plans for the export of finished products for 2019, the implementation of which will largely depend on the stable macroeconomic situation in the country and on export markets, as well as on the well-coordinated activities of all departments of the company.
The Uzbek-British company British American Tobacco Uzbekistan (JV UZBAT AO JSC) was established on November 22, 1994, as a joint venture with state participation. The company is one of the leading foreign investors and the largest British investor in the Uzbek economy with an accumulated volume of direct investments of about $400 million.
Currently, the joint venture of JSC JV “UZBAT AO” is the only manufacturing company of the BAT group in Central Asia, which includes the Tashkent office, the Samarkand cigarette factory (BAT SSF), and the Urgut fermentation plant (BAT UFZ) on the processing of raw tobacco. The company operates in the framework of a full technological and production cycle - from growing in cooperation with domestic farmers and tobacco growers of green raw tobacco to the production of finished products for the needs of the domestic market and exports abroad.
Today about 400 highly professional workers are employed by BAT SSF. For the needs of the Uzbek domestic market, 28 assortment items of tobacco products of international brands such as Kent, Pall mall, Rothmans, and Viceroy are manufactured at the SSF, not counting the export nomenclature. BAT SSF has three production shops - a workshop for the primary processing of raw tobacco into a finished cigarette bag, a filter production workshop, an assembly and packaging workshop. BAT UFZ employs 200 permanent and more than 400 seasonal (for more than six months) employees. BAT UFZ has modern equipment for processing both traditional Oriental (eastern) and semi-oriental tobaccos (Dubek, Izimr, Basma) traditional for Uzbekistan, and a new elite variety of Virginia tobacco, which was cultivated in Uzbekistan several years ago after years of experiments.
JV UZBAT directly employs 1,200 people and indirectly about 10,000 more people: 600 farmers, 7,000 tobacco growers, 2,000 employees of enterprises from related industries and services (production of group packaging and consumer packaging, agricultural equipment and fertilizers, warehouse and trade equipment, wholesale distribution of tobacco products, transport and logistics, engineering and utilities), not counting the retail trade. The company allocated more than 3 billion soums ($360,000) to implement various social projects in 2017.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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