Second quarter brings Imperial back on track

IMPERIAL Tobacco Group yesterday revealed that sales and growth had bounced back in the second quarter after a less successful first period.

Europe’s second biggest tobacco company said net revenues should increase by three per cent in the first half of the year, thanks to improving conditions in Spain, Ukraine and the US.

Cigarette volumes in the six month period are expected to decline by four per cent, offset by price hikes.

But this is an improvement on Imperial’s first quarter, in which stick volumes dropped seven per cent and revenues fell one per cent hit by UN sanctions in Syria and a new smoking ban in Spain.

Killik analyst Jonathan Jackson said: “Although the group faced easier year-on-year comparatives in the second quarter, the performance is encouraging, and reflects continued success across the key strategic brands.”

Imperial’s portfolio includes Davidoff, Gauloises Blondes, West and JPS, as well as a range of luxury Cuban cigars.

The Bristol-based company, which sells over 340bn cigarettes a year, confirmed it was on track to meet full year expectations come September.

Shares in Imperial Tobacco Group jumped 1.5 per cent to £25.57 after hitting £25.89 earlier in the day.