JULIAN HARDWICK | RBS
The update contains several positive features: strong volumes and revenue; a reduction in the effective tax rate; and an increase in the dividend payout, which we see as a pointer to the potential for capital return, all of which should highlight the significant undervaluation of the shares.
SIMON WILLIS | DANIEL STEWART
We believe that the recent weakness in the stock, driven by suggestions that smoking will decline to zero in 30 to 50 years, has been overdone and we regard the statement as the most positive piece of news since Alison Cooper took over as chief executive last summer.
KEITH BOWMAN | HARGREAVES LANSDOWN
The group’s update surprised positively on a number of fronts. The emerging markets appear to have underwritten better-than-expected volume growth. Investors will be buoyed by comments in relation to the group's earnings pay-out ratio. On balance, the market consensus is a ‘buy’.