British American Tobacco sees strong growth at start of 2012

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH American Tobacco, the world’s second-largest cigarette maker, has reported a 0.7 per cent rise in underlying first-quarter volumes, driven by growth in its major brands in a challenging global trading environment.

The London-based group, which makes Kent, Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes, said yesterday that overall group volumes rose 1.3 per cent to 166bn cigarettes while price rises pushed underlying revenues up six per cent.

Chief executive Nicandro Durante said the group achieved good growth in revenue, with continued pricing momentum, but currency headwinds had adversely affected results.

“It is a strong start to another year of anticipated good earnings growth,” he said in a first-quarter trading update.

BAT, the most globally spread of the big tobacco groups, said although there were indications that industry volume decline was moderating, the unsettled economic climate and currency headwinds continued to make trading challenging.

Its top four brands saw volumes rise six per cent, led by Lucky Strike which was up 26 per cent following strong growth in Germany, Spain, Poland, France and Chile.