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| 12 July, 2018

Egypt's Eastern Co raises cigarette prices

Egypt's top cigarette maker, Eastern Tobacco Company will raise prices by 10 to 15%

A vendor sells cigarettes at Tahrir Square in Cairo May 25, 2012.

A vendor sells cigarettes at Tahrir Square in Cairo May 25, 2012.

REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

CAIRO - Egypt's top cigarette maker, Eastern Tobacco Company, will raise prices by 10 to 15 percent, or 1.5-3 Egyptian pounds ($0.0840-$0.2521), starting on Thursday, Chairman Mohammed Othman Haroun said.

Prices have soared in import-dependent Egypt ever since it floated its pound currency in late 2016 as part of IMF-backed reforms.

In a televised interview late on Wednesday, Haroun said the price hike is intended to cover a new tax imposed by the government to raise money for healthcare services.

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Eastern supplies about 70 percent of Egypt's cigarette market, which Haroun put at about 83 billion cigarettes a year.

Annual headline inflation rose to 14.4 percent in June on the back of new subsidy cuts to fuel and electricity.

($1 = 17.8500 Egyptian pounds)

(Reporting by Eric Knecht and Ahmed Tolba; editing by Jason Neely) ((eric.knecht@thomsonreuters.com; +20 2 2394 8102; Reuters Messaging: eric.knecht.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))