Philip Morris International on Friday officially opened its first pilot plant for the production of potentially reduced-risk products (RRPs).
The pilot plant, at Zola Predosa about 11 km west of Bologna, Italy, is now in operation.
Meanwhile, PMI’s first manufacturing facility for larger scale production of RRPs, which is currently under construction in Crespellano, about 15 km west of Bologna, is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016.
‘Together the factories represent an investment of up to €500 million and the creation of 600 jobs,’ PMI said in a note posted on its website. ‘Combined annual production capacity is expected to reach up to 30 billion units.’
“This is a historic milestone in PMI’s strategic commitment to harm reduction by bringing to market potentially reduced-risk products,” said CEO André Calantzopoulos. “Our decision to invest in Bologna and in Italy reflects our confidence in the potential of our new technologies and our belief that these innovations represent a potential paradigm shift for our industry, public health and adult smokers.”
Eugenio Sidoli, president and MD of Philip Morris Italy said that with this investment in Bologna PMI was further expanding its long-standing presence in Italy and re-affirming its commitment to the local economy. “I am confident that with the great infrastructure available in the region, and above all, the exceptional talent and commitment of our employees, Italy will continue to be a significant pillar of PMI’s success.”
‘The pilot plant inauguration and the progress on construction of the new factory were celebrated during an event held in Zola Predosa, attended by more than 200 guests, including Prime Minister Renzi and other government representatives, Members of Parliament, representatives of regional authorities and employees,’ the PMI note said.
‘The event opened with the “signature of the first stone” by Prime Minister Renzi, André Calantzopoulos and Eugenio Sidoli. The stone will become part of PMI’s first factory in Crespellano which will produce potentially reduced-risk products on a larger scale for Italy and for other markets around the world.
‘The pilot plant, which was built in less than a year, has resulted in the creation of approximately 50 new jobs to date and will serve as the production facility for pilot city tests and initial market launches. It is now fully operational and has already completed the first production cycle that will supply PMI’s first pilot city tests in Milan, Italy and Nagoya, Japan later this year.’