British American Tobacco’s cigarette volume during the three months to the end of March, at 158 billion, was down by 1 percent on that of the first quarter of 2013, 160 billion.
Volumes increased from 48 billion to 50 billion in the company’s Asia Pacific region, but fell in its other regions: from 32 billion to 31 billion in its Americas region; from 54 billion to 53 billion in its Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region; and from 26 billion to 24 billion in its Western Europe region.
According to an interim management statement issued today, BAT’s five global drive brands recorded a volume increase of 6.3 percent, with their combined market share growing strongly in the group’s key markets. “Dunhill volume increased by 4.1 percent, with good growth in Indonesia and Brazil, partially offset by market decline in Malaysia,” the company said.
“Kent was 1.6 percent higher, driven by Japan and the Middle East, partially offset by market decline in Russia.
“Lucky Strike volume was down by 1 percent, with increases in Russia and Spain more than offset by decreases in Chile, Germany and Poland.
“Pall Mall was up by 6.9 percent as a result of growth in Pakistan, Chile, South Africa, Argentina and Mexico, partially offset by declines in Russia and Italy.
“Rothmans grew by 27.6 percent with strong performances in Russia, Italy and Ukraine, partially offset by decline in Egypt.”
Meanwhile, the company’s total tobacco volume, including the volume of other tobacco products calculated as cigarette stick equivalents, fell by 1.1 percent from 166 billion to 164 billion.
Fine-cut volume was down by 2.9 percent because of market declines in Western Europe, mainly Italy, Spain and France, partially offset by growth in Germany and Belgium.
But Pall Mall and Lucky Strike fine-cut volumes were said to have grown.
Group revenue for the three months to the end of March, at constant rates of exchange, grew by 2 percent on that of the three months to the end of March 2013, reflecting lower volume and the timing of price increases.
At current exchange rates, revenue declined by 12 percent, as movements in the majority of the group’s key trading currencies adversely impacted reported revenue.
“This is a good underlying performance, underpinned by an improving trend in volume,” said Nicandro Durante, chief executive.
“We have grown revenue at constant rates of exchange and our pricing remains on track.
“Our market share continued to grow, driven by the strength of our global drive brands.
“Although foreign exchange remains an issue for reported results, it is a good start to the year. I remain confident of delivering consistent growth in earnings in constant currency terms, which we will recognize with an increase in the dividend.”