The Brazilian-Cuban joint venture Brascuba S.A will soon start production in Cuba of Brazil's popular Plaza brand of cigarettes, official media said.

The firm's director of exports, Ernesto Tabio, announced that by mid-2013 they plan to start exporting the product to Brazil, the official AIN news agency said.
The cigarette produced on the island will have the same characteristics as the one made in Brazil, but according to Tabio, it will have the added benefit of using Cuban tobacco, considered the world's finest.

Tabia said the volume of exports will gradually increase until it reaches some 500 million units by 2017.

Brascuba Cigarrillos S.A. was founded in 1995 as a joint venture of the tobacco company Souza Cruz, a leader in cigarettes that makes several brands for Brazil and others for export, and the Cuban state enterprise Uneta, now known as Tabacuba.

Its portfolio is made up of the brands Popular, Cohiba, H. Upmann, Monterrey, Vega, Hollywood, H. Upmann Selecto and Lucky Strike, the only cigarettes made on the island with 100 percent Cuban tobacco.

The co-president of Brascuba, Abraham Maluff, has said that the company's export strategy aims to diversify its markets and boost its competitiveness in countries like Mexico, Russia, Japan, India and Brazil.

The company exports to more than 15 countries including Botswana, Dubai and Hong Kong, but its main market is Spain where it ranks fourth in sales. EFE