Company History

Once the difficulties which the Spanish-American War of 1898 inevitably brought to a Spanish-owned company had been overcome, and the Islands had been taken over by the United States, CdF's development continued and was consolidated during the years of the First World War. The company expanded into the large scale cultivation of sugar cane and actively participated in the development of the sugar industry in the Philippines. It also began exporting sugar and other commodities such as copra and hemp. Facing inadequate means of transport at that time, the company acquired a large fleet of ships which remained in service until the Second World War.

In the twenty years between 1919 and 1939, the company's operations in the Philippines expanded phenomenally. In 1937, Tabacalera Insurance Company was founded. In 1940, the company was instrumental in setting up Compañía de Celulosa de Filipinas which built one of the first factories in the world for the production of paper and cardboard from bagasse, the sugar cane residue. Tabacalera was considered one of the most important and renowned organisations in the country and employed around 27,000 people. It became a symbol, not just economically but also culturally and socially, of the survival of the Spanish way of life in the Philippines.

During the Second World War, almost all the installations and factories including the principal office building in Manila (Calle del Marqués de Comillas) were destroyed and the greater part of the business was brought to a stand still.

After the end of the war, the company embarked on the difficult task of rebuilding its installations and business operations, reopening its tobacco and sugar agencies. At the same time the company adopted a policy of geographically widening the scope of its investments and trade. In the 1950’s through the 1980’s, CdF withdrew from or sold off many of its businesses and refocused it resources on its original business, tobacco. CdF expanded its tobacco operations beyond the Philippines into Latin-America and Indonesia.

From 1997-2007, CdF went through a series of acquisitions that saw it become a part of Intabex Worldwide, and later Alliance One International, until it was acquired by the present owners in 2007.

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