Expatica news

Lights out for Belgium’s last cigarette firm

15 July 2004

BRUSSELS – Belgium’s only surviving cigarette maker is to close on August 1, it was reported on Thursday.

Tabacofina-Vander Elst in Merksem – the producer of Belga, Tigra and Johnson cigarettes – is moving to the Netherlands.

The firm, now run by British American Tobacco, was started by brothers François and Alphonse Vander Elst after the First World War.

Its leading label Belga, which now has about 10 percent of the Belgian market, was among the first to introduce filter cigarettes in the 1960s.

A total of 230 workers at the Belgian factory have lost their jobs, as a result of the closure, with 111 of those taking early retirement.

The machinery at Merksem will be dismantled by the end of the year and the site sold off.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news