Imperial Tobacco’s total tobacco volume during the six months to the end of March, at 140 billion stick equivalents, was down by 8 percent on that of the six months to the end of March 2013.
Stick equivalent volume is said to include cigarette, fine-cut tobacco, cigar and snus volumes.
Growth Brand volume was down by 3 percent, from 62 billion to 60 billion.
But Imperial said that its 10 growth brands (Davidoff, Gauloises Blondes, JPS, West, Fine, News, USA Gold, Bastos, Lambert & Butler and Parker & Simpson) continued to outperform the market, with underlying volumes up 4 percent and underlying net revenues up 6 percent.
“These results reflect the quality of growth we’re targeting and were achieved against a backdrop of market declines of 4 percent,” Imperial said in announcing its results.
“Our growth brand performance in growth markets was particularly strong, with underlying volumes increasing 11 percent.
“The investments we’re making to support the development of these brands are focused on initiatives that will build our presence in profitable high growth segments.”
Imperial’s tobacco net revenue during the six months to the end of March, at £3,134 million, was down by 5 percent on that of the six months to the end of March 2013, £3,284 million, though, at constant currency, the fall was said to have been 2 percent.
Tobacco adjusted operating profit fell 5 percent (down 2 percent at constant currency) to £1,296 million, while logistics adjusted operating profit fell by 1 percent (down 1 percent at constant currency) to £73 million, and total adjusted operating profit fell by 4 percent (down 1 percent at constant currency) to £1,367 million.
Adjusted earnings per share fell by 1 percent (up by 3 percent at constant currency) to 89.6 p, while the interim dividend per share was up by 10 percent to 38.8 p.
“We continue to drive our strategy to build the quality and sustainability of the business,” said CEO Alison Cooper.
“Our stock optimization program has inevitably impacted some of our numbers, but I’m pleased with our underlying performance.
“Our growth brands again outperformed the market, with underlying volumes up 4 percent. Actively managing our cost base is releasing funds to invest in these brands and their development is being further supported by the stock optimisation program.
“Our second half priority is to build on our growth momentum with a particular focus on strengthening our market shares, which are on an improving trend across many territories. Conditions are still tough in some markets, but we continue to demonstrate our resilience and remain on course to deliver our full-year targets.”