World News

Factbox: Cimex, Cuba's largest commercial corporation

(Reuters) - President Raul Castro has put Colonel Hector Oroza Busutin in charge of Cuban Export-Import Corporation, or CIMEX, Cuba’s largest commercial corporation, as part of his campaign to increase efficiency and reduce corruption.

The state-owned company that Oroza will run has operations ranging from banking to jewelry stores, but there is little detailed information available on its more than 80 companies and 25,000 employees.

What follows comes from the CIMEX web page,, and the last annual information released by the company covering 2006, when revenues were $1.3 billion, with 48 percent of that coming from retail operations and the rest from its other businesses.

* FINANCE - The company operates the Banco Financiera International, one of the three most important state-run banks in Cuba, which specializes in financing trade operations. Its financial division, FINCIMEX, clears all foreign credit card transactions in Cuba and manages all remittance wire transfers from the United States and most other countries, operating for example more than 100 outlets with Western Union.

* INTERNATIONAL TRADE - CIMEX accounts for between 6 percent and 10 percent of all foreign trade and operates the Melfi Marine container shipping company, Zelcom free trade zone and two companies that handle customs and other logistics, ADESA and AISA. The company maintains numerous offices abroad and exports specialty products such as rum, coffee, cigars, ice cream, perfume, soda, fruit juice, seeds, jewelry and commemorative items.

* TOURISM - The company’s travel agency, Havanatur, is the country’s oldest and largest with a monopoly on travel from the United States, while Havanauto is the largest rent-a-car agency and also provides taxi service.

* DOMESTIC TRADE - The company operates around a dozen wholesale outlets and a similar number of factories to process food for its outlets. In 2006, CIMEX operated 2,747 retail outlets, including 1,188 Panamericanas all-purpose stores, 363 gas stations (Servi-Cupet), 1,128 eateries from fast food to full service restaurants, 49 photo shops and 14 video stores, some of which were located in its numerous commercial centers. The company reported it accounted for 46.1 percent of foreign exchange retail sales in 2006 and 70 percent of gas station revenues.

* REAL ESTATE - In 2006 the company owned 13 office buildings and condominiums, but the number has increased since then.

* OTHER BUSINESSES - Cimex operates businesses in almost every sector of the economy. The following are some of the most important:

Coral Negro - Jewelry and sale of international brand watches in Cuba.

Casa de la Moneda - Mints commemorative coins and medals.

Contex - Cuban fashion and uniforms.

Imagines - Advertising and operates the only satellite television service.

Ecuse - Construction and automotive service.

Cubapack - International package and messenger service and online shopping for delivery inside Cuba.

Producciones Abdala S.A. - Recording studio and Unicorn record label.

Tecun - Importation, assembly and sale and service of computer technology.

La CerrajerÌa Integral - Security systems.

La Maison - fashion

Reporting by Marc Frank in Havana; Editing by Jeff Franks and Cynthia Osterman