London - JSE-listed British American Tobacco [JSE:BTI]
(BAT) expects good earnings growth this year despite the strong pound holding back
its performance at the half-year after the world’s No 2 cigarette maker gained
from price rises and strong emerging markets.
The London-based group, which makes Kent, Dunhill, Lucky
Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes, said on Wednesday its half-year volumes were
flat at 344 billion cigarettes while price rises pushed up its underlying sales
Chairperson Richard Burrows said despite global economic
uncertainty and the adverse impact of exchange rates the group had performed
well and he was upbeat for the full year.
“The underlying business continues to perform well and we
are confident of another year of good earnings growth,” he said.
BAT, which made 705 billion cigarette last year, has seen
smoking levels decline in Western Europe and North America, but has offset this
by pushing up prices and seeing growth in emerging markets like Brazil, Mexico,
Romania and Russia.
The company posted a 7% rise in half-year adjusted diluted
earnings per share to 102.4 pence, in line with a consensus forecast of 102.5
pence according to a company-compiled survey of analysts.
The half-year dividend, set at one third of 2011’s full year
level, rose 11% to 42.2 pence a share.
Rival Imperial Tobacco reported on Tuesday that price rises
offset volume falls as it lifted its revenues by three percent in the
nine-month to end-June after it suffered in recession-hit Spain as well as
Ukraine and Poland.
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