BAT in sales rise as price hikes kick-in

BRITISH American Tobacco (BAT) lifted its sales by seven per cent in the first nine months of the year as the firm saw price rises and recovering volumes in the third quarter.

The London-based maker of Kent, Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes said a good performance from these top four brands would help drive “another year of good earnings growth”.

Its key four brands delivered eight per cent growth, with Kent up nine per cent.

Sales grew in its top 10 markets, especially Russia, Romania and Ukraine.

However, overall group volumes fell 0.6 per cent to 523bn cigarettes over the period.

“While the challenging economic conditions continue to impact consumers in some markets, other markets are showing signs of recovery,” said chief executive Nicandro Durante yesterday.

The group added that some of its major markets were recovering, while others like Turkey, Canada and South Korea were still tough.

The world’s biggest cigarette group, Marlboro-maker Philip Morris International, last week reported underlying third quarter volumes rose 4.4 per cent with sales up 15.7 per cent. Imperial Tobacco said it expected volumes for the year to drop by two per cent.

Shares in BAT rose 1.52 per cent to 2,896p yesterday.