Mighty Corp, the Bulacan-based cigarette manufacturer, has issued a challenge to its competitor Philip Morris-Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) to watch is seen as a David and Goliath battle on the local industry.
The country’s only Filipino-owned company and producer of low-priced cigarettes for almost seven decades dared PMFTC to reveal to the public the merger or joint venture that the company underwent to sustain its business operation.
Mighty Corporation Executive Vice President Oscar P. Barrientos, a retired judge, believes that this move will definitely reveal who’s really cheating the government and the Filipino people. “In particular, we challenge PMFTC to tell the public the business nature of their closely guarded monopolistic partnership—whether it was a corporate merger or Philip Morris bought Fortune Tobacco’s majority stocks in 2010,” Barrientos said.
It was reported that before the partnership, Fortune controlled 64 percent of the cigarette market, including the low-priced and premium brands; while Philip Morris only had 30 percent market shares of the premium brands prior to the merger.
Barrientos finds it strange how Fortune gave up its operation and then allowed to be dominated by the foreign company Philip Morris, which defies logic at the very least. “The merger will demand high public interest, requiring full transparency because it involves taxation,” he emphasized.
In the past, Mighty Corp. has already explained that all allegations of technical smuggling, tax evasion, and related crimes thrown at them are baseless and merely malicious accusations. They claimed that the accusations only mask the real agenda of their competitor, which is to kill off all other local brands, especially the low-priced cigarettes.