Cuba's top cigar maker puffs out more sales

STORY: Sales at Cuban cigar maker Habanos rose last year.

That was driven largely by growth in Europe, which made up more than half the company's sales.

Buyers in the Asia-Pacific region also showed a taste for one of Cuba's most famous exports.

Habanos called China the 'driving force' behind sales there.

Jose Maria Lopez is co-chair of Habanos.

"Europe continues to consolidate its position as the world's leading region for Habanos, accounting for 54% of the world's sales. One of the major areas that we all know, which has grown in recent years is the Asia-Pacific region, which continues to increase its global weight and has now reached 19% of Habanos' worldwide sales turnover in value terms."

Habanos said Monday (February 27) that sales rose 2% overall on the previous year, hitting $545 million.

The cigar company said it has 40% of the global premium tobacco market.

It's known for brands such as Cohiba and Montecristo.

Luis Sanchez is the firm's co-chair.

"Of course with all the initiatives we have in terms of product and experience we provide to all cigar lovers, we are sure this year, we will even manage to surpass what we achieved in 2022."

Habanos has had to recover from the effects of the health crisis.

And it also faced severe disruption made by Hurricane Ian, which struck the main tobacco-producing region in Cuba.