Tobacco Company Faces Competition

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The executive director of the "Armtabak" joint stock company David Galumian stated that his predecessor and holder of 23 percent of the company’s shares Lida Sargssian deliberately froze the enterprise’s activities. One of the biggest shareholders and founders of "Armtabak" Hrant Vardanian was of the same opinion. Vardanian also argued that Sargssian was closely linked with circles involved in the import of tobacco.

The enterprise was privatized in October 1995. About 70 percent of its shares were held by Lida Sargssian–Hrant Vardanian (current director general of Grand Tobacco) and Rouben Hayrapetian. In June–1998–Sargssian sold 25 percent of shares to Karen Babayan (brother of Karabakh’s Defense Minister Samvel Babayan).

In an interview with Noyan Tapan–Galumian said that in the late 80s the enterprise produced about 10 billion cigarettes a year–while in 1997 it produced only 382.4 million. The sharp decline in production was also observed in 1997-98. The enterprise has operated at 7-8 percent of its capacity for the past two years.

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