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Vandermarliere family saves more than 2.6 million litres of water in Sri Lanka

Zwevegem, March 6 2020 - UTP Sri Lanka, a company owned by the Vandermarliere family, has upgraded the pumping system at its Sri Lankan cigar factory, thereby saving more than 2 million litres of water per year. However, this technical upgrade cost more than it returns. “We only did this for ideological reasons”, says CEO Jonathan Ampe.

The Vandermarliere family from West Flanders, which also owns cigar manufacturer J. Cortès, has operated its own factory – United Tobacco Processing Ltd. or UTP – in Sri Lanka since 1986. This factory has 12 spray tunnels in which high-pressure water is used to humidify the tobacco leaves. In order to maintain consistently high water pressure, the factory runs 4 pumps. Until recently, the pump heads had to be cooled continuously to prevent them from overheating. The water used for this constant cooling could not be reused and was wasted as a result.

Ideological reasons

The factory has now installed a new generation of pump heads that don’t require water for cooling. However, these new pump heads cost more than the water that they save. “It was purely for ideological reasons that we decided to install the new system”, admits CEO Jonathan Ampe. Technical manager Bart Bardyn immediately adds, “Thanks to this new technology, we’re saving more than 2.6 million litres of water per year. This saving can make a difference in a country like Sri Lanka, which is often affected by drought. In running UTP, we’ve always tried to make a positive contribution to Sri Lankan society by, for example, improving the circumstances of our employees and their families. So, continuing this trend at technological level was the obvious next step.”


For additional information or interview requests, please contact Jonathan Ampe,

CEO UTP Sri Lanka (Jonathan.Ampe@UTPSL.com) or Olivier Mottrie,

Marketing Support J.Cortès (Olivier.mottrie@jcortes.com / +32 472 42 36 21)

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About J. Cortès

J. Cortès is a family run company with a passion for cigars. Cigars in all shapes and sizes. It's a never-ending story of dedication and craftsmanship that started in 1926. Don't smoke but enjoy! Our prime brands are J. Cortes, Country, Neos and Amigos. For the major European countries we have strong in-house sales teams; for other markets our brands are in the hands of our export managers and sold over 80 countries globally. In 2016 CEO Fredje fell in love with artisanal cigar company Oliva Cigars, based in the US and Nicaragua. A business marriage was set and it turned out to be the party of the year. The Cortès family business now spreads across two continents.

Don't smoke but enjoy!