Philip Morris Int'l to fully control Mexican unit

May 21, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) -- Philip Morris International Inc. said Tuesday it plans to buy the remaining 20 percent stake in its Mexican subsidiary from business magnate Carlos Slim's Grupo Carso holding company.

The seller of Marlboro and other cigarette brands outside of the U.S. said it will buy the outstanding interest in Philip Morris Mexico for about $700 million. The transaction, which is expected to get completed by the end of September, is subject to the approval of the Mexican antitrust authority. Slim is on Philip Morris International's board of directors.

Its shares fell $1, or 1.1 percent, to $94 in morning trading Tuesday, and have traded between $81.10 and $96.73 in the last 52 weeks.

The company, based in New York and Switzerland, said Marlboro was the leading brand in Mexico in 2012 with 53.6 percent share of the market. Last year Philip Morris International's market share of Mexico's total tax-paid cigarette industry volume of 33.6 billion cigarettes was 73.5 percent.

The world's second-biggest cigarette seller behind state-controlled China National Tobacco Corp. was spun off from Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., the owner of Philip Morris USA, in 2008.