The world’s fourth biggest cigarette maker has already lowered its forecasts as a result of the competition. In a market update for the nine months to 30 June, Imperial yesterday said that tobacco net revenue had risen by two per cent, in spite of a three per cent fall in cigarette volumes. The company, which owns the Davidoff, West and Gauloises brands, had warned last month that full-year adjusted operating profits in the region could be as much as £110m lower than previously forecast. However that figure has been revised to £70m.
Spain has imposed stricter restrictions on smoking this year, and with austerity measures in the country also hitting disposable income, tobacco firms have been cutting prices. Chief executive Alison Cooper said: “We grew volumes of our global strategic cigarette brands Davidoff, Gauloises Blondes and West with good performances in emerging markets.”
Shares in the firm closed down 0.6 per cent at 2,140p yesterday.