Report: Centralized tobacco distributor in trouble

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Shortly after its launch, Hungary’s centralized tobacco distributor ODBE has been experiencing structural difficulties, Hungarian daily Népszabadság reported today. Until mid-December retailers will only be able to purchase cigarettes in “small quantities” through cash payments, and will be required to wait in line, while those who arrive late may not be able to purchase goods at all, the daily added. 

The company said on its website that retailers can only purchase a limited amount of goods, extraordinary orders cannot be placed and some other limitations are also being introduced, the daily reported.

The company reportedly told the paper that the matter only involved a few retailers, and that issues will be resolved soon. The company said the situation is being caused by big tobacco manufacturers, primarily Phillip Morris, being unable to reach an agreement with the distributor for some time, and once said contracts were signed, retailers tapped out the distributor to fill their depleted inventory.

Despite reports in mid-November suggesting the tobacco products of Philip Morris and Imperial Tobacco could vanish from store shelves as the two companyʼs did not reach an agreement with ODBE, the distributor was finally able to sign contracts with the two companies on November 25 and 26.

ODBE has signed contracts with Alföld-Tabak, BAT Pécsi Dohánygyár, Continental Dohányipari, Danczek Dohányipari, Imperial Tobacco Magyarország, JTI Hungary, Philip Morris Magyarország, Róna Dohányfeldolgozó, Tabán Trafik and TTI Hungary.

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