Philip Morris plans to launch Marlboro in India

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NEW DELHI -- Philip Morris Cos. early next year will launch its Marlboro cigarette brand in India through 36%--owned Godfrey Phillips (India), a national business journal reports. The company has not confirmed the move.

"[Philip Morris] will be given royalty and other such commissions for launching the Marlboro brand through us," Godfrey Phillips Chairman K. K. Modi told Business Standard newspaper. He said negotiations are still continuing with the $64bn U.S. tobacco giant.

Chaitra Leo Burnett, Bombay, is expected to handle the estimated $4.2m Marlboro account; Leo Burnett handles the account worldwide.

Philip Morris International a few weeks ago gained clearance from India's government to open a wholly owned subsidiary in foods and agribusiness. Industry observers feared the marketer would use the new subsidiary to enter India's tobacco market, currently dominated by Calcutta--based ITC Ltd., 31.7% owned by Britain's B.A.T Industries.

Pall Mall's Rothman's is the only foreign brand to be locally produced in India since the mid--1980s. Its recent licensing tie--up with Godfrey Phillips collapsed over differences between the marketers. Rothmans is now on the lookout for another partner to make cigarettes in the subcontinent.

Copyright October 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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