Philip Morris Buys Protabaco

NEW YORK (AP) -- Philip Morris International Inc., seller of Marlboro cigarettes overseas, said Friday it would pay $452 million to buy privately owned Protabaco, a Colombian cigarette maker.

Protabaco's brands include Mustang, Premier and President.

Philip Morris International is the world's largest nongovernmental cigarette maker after China's state-controlled China National Tobacco Corp.

Earlier this month, Philip Morris said it would buy Swedish Match South Africa Ltd.'s pipe tobacco and snuff business for $222 million. Philip Morris International and Swedish Match are already partners in a joint venture to sell Swedish Snus and other smokeless tobacco products in markets outside the U.S. and Scandinavia. The deal between the two allows them to license the Marlboro brand for use on smokeless products.

Philip Morris International was spun off last year from Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., the seller of Marlboros in the U.S.

Philip Morris International shares rose 31 cents to $42.65 in premarket trading. They have fallen 22 percent in the past year.

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