British American Tobacco has reported strong results for 2012 with sales, profits and market share all up.
Allowing for currency movements, sales grew 4% to £15.9bn, and profits by 8% to £6bn.
Total cigarette volumes were down 1.6%, but BAT sold 3% more of all of its global brands – Dunhill, Lucky Strike, Kent and Pall Mall – with Lucky Strike up 11%.
Smoking levels are declining slowly in most of BAT’s markets, but fine cut tobacco is still doing well, up 8% in Western Europe, where Pall Mall is the largest fine cut brand.
The company is preparing for future markets by developing e-cigarette products. In December 2012 it bought UK-based CN Creative, a company specialising in e-cigarette technology.
“BAT delivered strong profit growth in 2012, achieved through good pricing and an outstanding improvement in operating margin, partially offset by adverse exchange rate movements,” said chairman Richard Burrows.