European woe dents Imperial Tobacco profit

IMPERIAL Tobacco said yesterday it expects full year earnings per share to be at the lower end of its four to eight per cent target range, as the Davidoff and Gauloises cigarette maker posted a fall in profits amid the difficult European climate.

Imperial, the world’s fourth-largest cigarette group by market share, said adjusted earnings fell 3.1 per cent to 90.2p a share for the six months to the end of March.

Analysts expected 90.3p a share on average.

“The resilience we’re showing in a deteriorating EU environment demonstrates the strength and versatility of our unique total tobacco portfolio,” said chief executive Alison Cooper in a half year results statement yesterday.

“We expect to grow our full year earnings per share in line with our earnings model, albeit at the lower end given the difficult operating environment,” she said.

Revenue from its key strategic brands rose five per cent, while volumes increased one per cent.