British American Tobacco bets on e-cigarettes as sales grow

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH American Tobacco (BAT) said yesterday it would move rapidly to expand its presence in the electronic cigarette market around the world after launching its first product in the UK earlier this week.

The world’s second-largest cigarette maker, whose premium brands include Kent, Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall, launched online sales of Vype on Monday, becoming the first major tobacco firm to offer e-cigarettes in Britain.

“We’ll focus on the UK, but the e-cigarette business is moving quickly all over the world, and we want to make sure that we also move quickly, because we want to take a leading position,” BAT director Kingsley Wheaton said yesterday, as the firm posted a four per cent rise in first-half sales.

BAT said it was confident of another year of good growth as price rises helped offset falling consumption to push first-half sales up four per cent to £7.75bn at constant exchange rates. Operating profit grew four per cent to £2.94bn.

The firm also announced that chief operating officer John Daly will step down at the end of December 2013. His role will not be filled.