PMI rebranding Altria MarkTen as Solaris for European launch

PMI Solaris 300x180Philip Morris International (PMI) will next month launch Altria’s MarkTen cigalike in Spain, rebranded as Solaris.

It has international rights outside the U.S. to the MarkTen e-cigarette, which is produced by Altria’s Nu Mark subsidiary and for which Altria has already embarked on a big push into American retailers.

“The Solaris brand name conveys a sense of technology and positive energy,” said PMI’s chief financial officer Jacek Olczak, speaking to a conference of the Consumer Analyst Group of New York in Florida.

PMI last November launched its heat-not-burn product suite, iQOS and HeatSticks, for test-marketing in Japan and Italy.

The company was spun off from Altria – itself previously known as Philip Morris Companies  – in 2008, but the two firms have retained close links since. Just as PMI is preparing to sell MarkTen internationally, so Altria could also market HeatSticks within the U.S. in the future.

The two firms are understood to be working together to obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the HeatStick and iQOS technology, under the FDA rules for modified risk tobacco products (MRTPs).

What This Means: Spain will doubtless be only a first European landfall for the MarkTen, and coming so soon after Imperial Tobacco’s Fontem announced the rollout of its Jai e-cig to France and then Italy, this suggests that Big Tobacco may now be arriving in the European market in force.

– Barnaby Page ECigIntelligence staff

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