The First 100 Years
The history of what is now a global company can be traced back to Mr. Philip Morris’s 1847 opening of a single shop on London’s Bond Street, selling tobacco and ready-made cigarettes.
On Mr. Morris’s death, the business was taken over by his wife Margaret and his brother Leopold. In 1881 the Company went public, Leopold Morris joining Joseph Grunebaum to establish Philip Morris & Company and Grunebaum, Ltd. This partnership was dissolved in 1885 and the Company became known as Philip Morris & Co., Ltd.
The Company finally left the founding family’s control in 1894, when it was taken over by William Curtis Thomson and his family. Under Thomson, the Company was appointed tobacconist to King Edward VII and, in 1902, was incorporated in New York, by Gustav Eckmeyer. Ownership was split 50-50 between the British parent and American partners. Eckmeyer had been sole agent for Philip Morris in the U.S. since 1872, importing and selling English-made cigarettes.
1919 was a crucial year for the Company. It saw the introduction of the Philip Morris coronet logo, the acquisition of the Philip Morris Company in the U.S. by a new firm owned by American shareholders, and its incorporation in Virginia under the name of Philip Morris & Co., Ltd., Inc. By the end of the next decade, the Company had begun to manufacture cigarettes in its factory in Richmond, Virginia; in 1924, what was to become its most famous brand, Marlboro, was introduced.
By the mid-1950s the Company had become a part of American culture, and soon after it launched Philip Morris International (PMI) to manufacture and market its products around the world.
55 Years of PMI
Philip Morris (Australia) becomes the first affiliate of Philip Morris Companies Inc. outside of the U.S.
Philip Morris Overseas is established as an international division
The first Marlboro cigarettes manufactured outside the U.S. are produced following an agreement with Fabriques de Tabac Réunies in Switzerland
This manufacturing facility is subsequently acquired by Philip Morris in 1963
Philip Morris Incorporated establishes Philip Morris Domestic, Philip Morris International (PMI), and Philip Morris Industrial, each responsible for three identifiable operations of its business
Marlboro becomes the world’s number one selling cigarette
Volume reaches 113 billion units as international expansion accelerates
License agreement with Japan Tobacco to begin manufacture of Marlboro in Japan
International cigarette sales reach 124 billion units, versus 123 billion in the U.S.
Licensingtorg, representing the Soviet tobacco industry, and PMI sign an agreement for local production of PMI brands
PMI opens its largest factory outside the U.S., in Bergen op Zoom in the Netherlands—today this factory is still PMI’s largest
PMI is incorporated as an operating company of Philip Morris Companies Inc.
PMI operating income tops USD 1 billion for the first time
PMI moves from Park Avenue in New York City to Rye Brook, N.Y., U.S.
PMI volume tops 400 billion cigarettes
PMI acquires a majority holding in state-owned Czech Republic Tabak AS for USD 420 million in the largest single investment by a U.S. company in central Europe at the time
In the early 1990’s PMI participates in other state factory privatizations including in Kazakhstan, Lithuania, and Hungary
PMI opens first factory in Asia in Seremban, Malaysia
PMI calls for regulation of the tobacco industry at the World Health Organization’s public hearings on the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control in Geneva, Switzerland
PMI operations center transfers from Rye Brook, N.Y., U.S., to Lausanne, Switzerland
PMI operating income reaches USD 5.7 billion, more than a hundredfold increase over 1970
PMI opens a factory in the Philippines, the Company’s largest investment in Asia at the time
PMI’s product sales represent almost 14% of the global cigarette market outside of the U.S.
PMI acquires majority stake in Papastratos Cigarette Manufacturing S.A., the largest cigarette manufacturer and distributor in Greece
PMI acquires 74.22% of DIN Fabrika Duvana AD Nis in Serbia. As of December 2007 this holding was more than 80%
PMI acquires PT HM Sampoerna Tbk in Indonesia and Compania Colombiana de Tabaco SA (Coltabaco) in Colombia. Both are the largest cigarette manufacturers in their respective countries
PMI takes back license for Marlboro in Japan from JTI
PMI announces an agreement with the China National Tobacco Company (CNTC) for the licensed production of Marlboro in China and the establishment of an international equity joint venture outside of China
Year-end volume stands at 831.4 billion, operating income at USD 8.4 billion, and global market share at 15.4%
PMI acquires an additional 50.2% stake in Lakson Tobacco Company, Pakistan, bringing its total holding to approximately 98%
Year-end volume stands at 850 billion, operating income at USD 8.9 billion, and an estimated global market share at 15.6%
PMI spins off from Altria, becoming the world’s leading international tobacco company and the fourth largest global consumer packaged goods company
PMI acquires Rothmans Inc. of Canada and the fine-cut trademark Interval
Year-end volume stands at 869.8 billion, operating income at USD 10.25 billion, and an estimated global market share at 15.6%
PMI enters into an agreement to establish a joint venture company with Swedish Match AB to commercialize smoke-free tobacco products worldwide, outside of Scandinavia and the United States
PMI announces an agreement with Fortune Tobacco Corporation in the Philippines to unite their respective business activities to form a new company called PMFTC
In June 2011, PMI completed the acquisition of a cigarette business in Jordan, consisting primarily of cigarette manufacturing assets and inventories, for USD 42 million. In January 2011, PMI acquired a cigar business, consisting primarily of trademarks in the Australian and New Zealand markets, for USD 20 million.
Effective January 1, 2011, PMI established a new business structure with Vietnam National Tobacco Corporation (“Vinataba”) in Vietnam, further developing its existing joint venture with Vinataba through the licensing of Marlboro and establishing a PMI-controlled branch for the building of its brands.