IMPERIAL Tobacco , the world's fourth-biggest cigarette maker, beat forecasts with a 16 per cent rise in half-year earnings and looked towards a better second half as recovery kicks in.
The company, with cigarette brands including Lambert & Butler, West and Gauloises, said on it saw the downturn cut its volumes 3.7 per cent in the six months to end-March but price rises in Western Europe pushed up overall sales and earnings.
The group expects its cigarette volumes will stabilise in the second half of its year to the end of September 2010 and expects to be able to offset higher tobacco leaf cost by pushing up prices.
"Overall, we see a fairly strong second half, and are encouraged by the upward trend of our most recent cigarette shares in a number of mature and emerging markets," Chief Executive Gareth Davis told a conference call after results.
City A.M. Reporter