J. Cortes Buying Oliva Cigar Company

When we first reported Oliva was sold, we may not of had the buyer right but we knew the process was close to being completed. While the parent company of General Cigar was involved in the bidding they did not close the sale and were outbid. Now we know that Oliva Cigar Company is close to having a new owner and that is Belgian Cigar Maker, J. Cortes.

While the name may not be known to everyone in the United States the company has been around since 1926 and served as the distributor for Oliva in Belgium. The company known for Neos flavored cigars also produces J. Cortes, Country, Amigos and Calvano.

The family owned company started as a retailer and began making a true boutique cigar over their shop in an attic. In 1975, when they obtained Neos Cigar Company along with United Tobacco Processing (UTP) they took ownership of a huge cigar factory in Sri Lanka. Today, prior to the purchase of Oliva they produce 450 tons of raw tobacco, 980 billion wrappers and binders and over 500,000 finished cigars sold in 80 countries.

We reached out to Fred Vandermarliere the CEO of J. Cortes via Twitter who did not issue a denial on the matter…

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The purchase of Oliva was a smart move as many of their brands pre-date the 2007 predicate date imposed by the FDA.

Oliva cigar company can trace its roots to Melanio Oliva who began growing tobacco in 1886 in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. In 1964 following the Cuban revolution, Gilberto Oliva would emigrate to Spain before moving to Nicaragua where he would reenter the tobacco business.

In 1996, his son Gilberto Oliva Jr.  would launch “Gilberto Oliva” a label which evolved into today’s Oliva.

The brand would get a new factory in 2003, and today their premium cigars are produced at a 60,000 square foot facility located in Esteli, Nicaragua. The company employs over 300 rollers and is capable of producing 50,000 cigars daily. Lower-end products are manufactured in Danli, Honduras as well which are then transported to Nicaragua before shipping globally.

The rumor of the sale of the company grew as José R. Oliva entered politics in Florida. It is alleged the sale price was $60 million USD and included brands and factory but not the Oliva Cigar Company farms.