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      Philip Morris buys $625M Arab Investors-TA stake



      NEW YORK (AP) Cigarette seller Philip Morris International is buying a 49 percent stake in Arab Investors-TA for $625 million.

      Philip Morris International Inc., which sells brands including Marlboro overseas, said Monday that the transaction gives it a nearly 25 percent interest in the Socit des Tabacs Algro-Emiratie, a joint venture between Arab Investors-TA and Algerian state-owned Socit Nationale des Tabacs et Allumettes SpA.

      The Socit des Tabacs Algro-Emiratie makes and distributes Philip Morris' Marlboro and L&M brands under a license.

      Philip Morris International views Algeria as a key region for possible future growth.

      The purchase is expected to add to the company's earnings per share starting next year.

      Philip Morris International became a separate company from Altria Inc., which sells Marlboro and other brands in the U.S., in 2008.
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