Imperial sees profit double

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH group Imperial Tobacco, the world’s fourth-biggest cigarette maker, met forecasts with an 11 per cent rise in full-year earnings as price increases and cost savings offset lower sales volumes.

The maker of Lambert & Butler, West and Gauloises has seen cigarette volumes fall as smokers switch to cheaper, and sometimes illicit, cigarettes in the global downturn.

Tough economic conditions in Spain, the United States, Russia and Ukraine saw group annual cigarette volumes fall 4.2 per cent, but 8.7 per cent growth in fine cut loose tobacco volume meant its cigarette equivalent volumes fell just 2.9 per cent.

For the 12 months to 30 September, Imperial Tobacco revenues grew from £26.5bn to £28.2bn, with pre-tax profit rising from £945m to £2.1bn, partially due to a £660m hedging loss in 2009.