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R. J. Reynolds Tobacco International, Inc. announced today that it will invest in a cigarette making-and-packing facility in the Czech Republic. The company said it wilt begin conversion of an existing 22, 000- square-foot (2,000-square-neter) facility located in Benesov, about 30 miles from Prague. When fully operational, the plant will have a production capacity of approximately 2.5 billion cigarettes annually. The project will create between 70 and 100 jobs during the initial phase and is part of a $100-million commitment earmarked for the Czech Republic by RJR Tobacco International over the next five years. The company said its sizable investment demonstrates a strong, long- term commitment to the Czech Republic and its people. RJR is the first Western cigarette company to begin direct manufacturing in the Czech Republic since the Czech government abolished the cigarette monopoly in 1993, thus permitting the introduction of a free-market environment. The RJR investment opens up a competitive situation in the Czech tobacco industry, giving the Czech consumers a larger choice of cigarette products. “Our main objective, short-term, is to develop the franchise of our flagship brand Camel, which is already very favorably perceived by Czech consumers. Our locally produced RJR brands will be manufactured with the sane standards of high quality as our imported brands,” said Pierre Simon, General Manager of RJR-Czech Republic. RJR Tobacco International, parent of RJR-Czech Republic, began importing Camel cigarettes into the country in 1993. RJR-Czech Republic has formed its own sales and marketing company in Prague to handle the growing Czech business. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco International is one of the world’s largest cigarette manufacturers. Its parent company, RJR Nabisco, Inc., is the sixth largest consumer goods company in the world, with 1993 sales in excess of $15 billion.