Imperial fired up for growth
Imperial Tobacco, the world’s fourth-biggest cigarette company, yesterday said group performance had been in line with forecasts and that it was on course for another good year.
The British maker of Lambert & Butler cigarettes said the integration of Altadis, the Franco-Spanish rival it acquired for €12.6bn (£9.92bn) in January, was going well.
“Our operating environment remains challenging but our business fundamentals are strong and with our continued focus on profitability, cost reductions and driving distribution of the enlarged brand and product portfolio, we remain on track for another successful year,” chief executive Gareth Davis said.
Cigarette volumes for the enlarged group grew 45 per cent to 207bn in the nine months to 30 June, up from 143bn in the same period last year.
In May, the group launched a deeply discounted £4.9bn ($9.8bn) rights issue to pay for Altadis, and Imperial Tobacco said yesterday its net debt level had been reduced to just under £12bn as at the end of June.
Imperial Tobacco’s purchase of Altadis gave it brands including Gauloises and Fortuna to add to its own West and Davidoff.