Fabriques de Tabac Reunies

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Fabriques de Tabac Reunies, or FTR was a small cigarette manufacturer in Neuchatel, Switzerland which was licensed to produce Marlboro. Not long after, Philip Morris acquired a number of shares and began to extend its laboratory facilities by hiring Max Hausermann, an organic chemists, who had been hired in from Instant Coffee maker, Nestle. Eventually Philip Morris took the company over and the laboratory became the R&D center for Philip Morris Europe, which established its headquarters nearby at Lausanne.

FTR then bacame the center for many different activities. It was a medium-scale manufacturing plant for Europe and the Middle East and Africa, and it provided the scientific expertise (developed under Helmut Gaisch to run many scams on behalf of the tobacco industry. It was also the administrator of the secret INBIFO laboratory owned by Philip Morris in Cologne, and its subsidiary, the Contract Research Center (animal house - run by Roger Walk) in Brussels.

FTR was renamed Philip Morris Products S.A. (PMPSA) in the period c 2002 [1], and is commonly known today as a Philip Morris R&D and manufacturing facility in Neuchatel, Switzerland. (So many of the documents generated by this facility are in German or French language.)

Philip Morris acquired the company because of the secrecy provisions of Swiss law, and the central location of the facility in Europe, and these factors allowed t to become the best location for their development, and some research operations.

It also became the center of Philip Morris's scientific disinformation operations under Helmut Gaisch and a team of scientific PR operators under the direction of Gaisch's two lieutenants, Helmut Reif and Iancou Marcovich. Most of the English-language documents in the tobacco archives are from the US/UK correspondence files and so deal with these activities. The FTR Swiss operations included the EEC (European Economic Community) Region and also the EEMA (East European, Mediterranean/Middle East, Africa) Region. These regions were handled by different specialists.

EFTA - European Free Trade Association. This was established in 1960 by Norway and Switzerland, with later Iceland, Liechtenstein.
Also note that Philip Morris Europe had an Industrial Services Department at Lausanne (often known by suburb name Brillancourt 4)

Documents & Timeline

1957 FTR strikes an agreement for a license to make Marlboro

1958 Feb 28 An agreement to manufacture and market Marlboro in Switzerland is signed by Managing Director Fritz Schurch, of Fabriques de Tabac Reunies, S.A.; and Justus Heymans, Senior Vice President of Philip Morris Overseas; [2]

1961 Jan Justus Heymans is writing to Philip Morris in the USA re FTR's Fritz Schurch:

The Board of FTR has decided that they will not enter any other licence agreements unless they have it also for the EFTA countries. They are still afraid that we might some day, when the contract expires, sell ourselves in Switzerland. Furthermore, with many new cigarettes coming on the market in Switzerlandd it would not be too wise to rush presently Parliament or Alpine. He prefers to cast his efforts and energy on Marlboro. He would like to marry us. In case our taking a 20% interest in his Company, he would be willing to sign a 10 years' contract. This, as a matter of fact, is not at all a bad idea. [3]

1961 Jan 6 Justus Heymans has just signed an agreement (with) by Grimanelli (French) and SEITA (France) to make Marlboro, Parliament and perhaps other cigarettes. Philip Morris plans to make Disque Bleu and Gauloises in Richmond.

He also complains bitterly about getting the run-around from FTR who do, then don't, want to produce Alpine and Parliament.[4]

1963 Dec Philip Morris purchases FTR. This gave the American company a European manaufacturing base and allowed it to expand internationally

Fabriques de Tabac Reunies therefore became the first Philip Morris cigarette manufacturing affiliate on the continent of Europe.[1]

1963 Dec 6 Philip Morris executives are learning how to deal with the regular correspondence between FTR at Neuchatel and Philip Morris International -- who's office was in New York. George Weissman (Chairman of the Board of PM International). Also Hamish Maxwell, Justus Heymans, Sidney Bach, Walter O Carlson, James E Turner, M Jerome Adlers, Louis R Kelm, Richard J Kemp, Richard J Kempe, A Leo Schreuder, Eric H Strauhs, Peter C Trentacoste [5]

[From a later Joseph F Cullman Annual Report]

In 1963, we carried as an investment the common stock of Fabriques de Tabac Reunies, S.A., our Swiss subsidiary acquired during December 1963. The accounts of this company are now included in the consolidated financial statements. [6]

1964 Mar 2 Joseph F Cullman writes to George Weissman - who has just arrived in Australia. Fritz Schurch has resigned and this is upsetting Bek of FTR

George Dawson has just shown me a very long letter that came in for you from Mr. Bek of FTR. We are sending you a copy. We are cabling Fritz Schurch asking him to delay his resignation -- which he had already submitted -- until after he visited the US in April and discussed the whole matter with us. In his resignation, he suggested his son in his place which, apparently, upset Bek considerably. I trust that Fritz Schurch will delay, as requested. [7]

1964 Mar 4 The Annual Report of Philip Morris. The key executives are:

  • Philip Morris Inc. (the domestic and holding company)
    • Joseph F Cullman 3rd President; Hugh Cullman, is VP and Assistant Chief of Operations
    • Weissman, Heymans, Dawson, Milhiser, Paul Smith, and Wakeham are all Vice Presidents
  • Ahrensfeld was the Associate General Counsel and Secretary
  • Conboy Hewitt O'Brien & Boardman (with Alex Holtzman) were the company's Counsel
  • Philip Morris International (subsidiary):
    • George Weissman, Chairman and CEO
    • Justus Heymans, Deputy Chairman
    • George C Dawson, Presieent and COO
    • Sidney Bach, William F Fielden & Robert J Leahy, Vice Presidents
    • Hamish Maxwell, Vice President and Director of Marketing [8]
Hamish Maxwell, by taking the company successfully into these European and international markets was eventually to move up through the PM ranks, to become Chairman and CEO of the Group. He took with him, virtually attached to his coat-tails, R William Murray and Geoffrey C Bible who were also successively CEOs and Chairmen.

1965/E PM purchased another manufactory in Munich.

1965 Feb 1 Joseph Cullman 3rd's Annual Report says

The operations of the Company's Swiss affiliate, Fabriques de Tabac Reunies, in which we acquired a substantial interest late in 1963, were for the first time included in the Company's consolidated figures. Its expanding business necessitated a new modern manufacturing facility in Neuchatel, which was dedicated in October. This affiliate provides us with a modern and important European manufacturing facility. In addition to Marlboro and Philip Morris, the company manufactures several important European brands, among them Brunette, Muratti, Mercedes and North Pole. Marlboro, which has had a great growth record in Switzerland, is now the leading brand in that country in sales value. [9]

Note Philip Morris Europe (PME) was a quite distinct operation from FTR at this time. It was based in Brillancourt (an industrial site in Lausanne) Switzerland.

1969 Jun 24 Max Hausermann is at the head of R&D at FTR dealing with Helmut Wakeman his superior in Richmond, Virginia on a "Dear Wake" basis. [10]

1974 Jul 8 Max Hausermann is running Philip Morris Europe's Industrial Service Department at Brillancourt in Lausanne. Gaisch is being ccd at FTR. [11]

1975 In 1957 FTR and Philip Morris entered into an agreement whereby PM licensed PTR to manufacture and sell Marlboro cigarettes in Switzerland for a period of ten years. FTR did an excellent job with this brand. As Marlboro prospered, the FTR principals stated that they were apprehensive about the number of years that the agreement had to run,... [12]

1976 Philip Morris has purchased the Cologne (Koln) laboratory of INBIFO to do "defensive" research on tobacco and its conversion products, away from the jurisdiction of the US courts. The purchase was done through FTR to utilise the Swiss corporate secrecy laws. The order was circulated that nothing was to be directly sent to INBIFO -- but that all correspondence must be via FTR who would relay requests and create a block to legal discovery. [13]

1977 Mar 31 Helmut Gaisch, who was fresh to the company at this time, has broken the 'Keep INBIFO Secret' rule, and Max Hausermann at PME in Neuchatel is being advised by his superior Robert Seligman (in the USA) to correct the procedure and destroy all correspondence which might show this connection. [14]

1981 The FTR's R&D team under Gaisch had been split up and was working closely with PM Europe. However

With the completion of the new R&D building by the end of 1982 the whole of R&D, with the exception of the planned semi-works for cigarette development, is to be reunited at the FTR site.


1982 Oct-Dec Max Hausermann has been given a study by Victor J DeNoble et al (PM research staff in Richmond NY) for presentation at a Virginia symposium on Nicotine. It is in fact confirmation that nicotine is addictive. The lawyers at Philip Morris led by Alexander Holtzman have clamped down on publication. [16]

Two years later Philip Morris abruptly closed down his research laboratory and destroyed most of the records.

1983 The Director circa 1983 was Helmut Gaisch. [2]

FTR is a subsidiary of Philip Morris International. However to maintain their secret ownership of the German (Cologne) reseach laboratory, INBIFO (the Institute of Biological Research (Institut fur Biologische Forschung GmbH) it became theoretically owned by FTR. [3]


  1. No title Report. 1 pp. February 15, 1980. Bates No. 2074446162
  2. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/yta29e00 No title] Letter. Estimated date 1983. Bates No. 2501090871
  3. Victor Han, Philip Morris No title Email/memo. March 21, 1996. Bates No. 2062199261

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