February 2020

J. Cortes Acquires Oliva leaf operations. Four years ago, in 2016, the Belgian mass-market cigar manufacturer acquired the Oliva Cigar Company in Esteli, Nicaragua. That purchase included the Oliva brands, the factory in Nicaragua but excluded the farms and leaf operations. The Oliva family would hold on to those.

But now, effective immediately, J. Cortes acquired the leaf operations too. With this, J. Cortes consolidates the hand-rolled, premium cigar operation in Nicaragua. 

New factory and renovations

Since J. Cortes took over the Oliva Cigar Company, a lot has changed. The new owners opened a new factory, Tabolisa II. And the original factory, Tabolisa 1, was completely renovated and overhauled. The production capacity of the renovated factory was increased by 63% from 55.000 cigars a day to 90.000 cigars a day. Our friends at Halfwheel wrote a beautiful article about the upgraded factory last month.

J. Cortes also started producing private labels at the Tabolisa factories. Recently, the French brand Corleone Cigars moved most of its production from Costa Rica to Nicaragua, to the Tabolisa factory.

Ministry of Cigars - J. Cortes Acquires Oliva leaf operations

A brief Cortes history

In 1926, sexton Maurits Vandermarliere, who was also a tobacconist, purchased a cigar rolling machine. The company grew and acquired more brands along the way including the Neos brand, which is a popular machine-made cigar in Europe. In 1979, Vandermarliere acquired the TAF factory and with that the J. Cortes brand. Cortes has factories in Belgium and in Sri Lanka. Before acquiring the Oliva Cigar Company, both companies already worked together. J. Cortes produced the Oliva Viejo Mundo, the machine-made shorfiller cigar from Oliva, at their Sri Lanka location. Cortes has a distribution channel that expands over 80 countries worldwide. And now J. Cortes Acquires the Oliva leaf operations.

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