Global volumes have slumped at tobacco giant Imperial Brands (IMT) as a result of the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
However, price increases helped to offset volume declines and push up revenues 10% in the first quarter to £1.6bn.
The group’s “growth brands” such as Lambert & Butler and Gauloises managed to increase volumes 7.3% and net revenue 10.6%, excluding Iraq and Syria.
Imperial, which has now dropped tobacco from its name, said growth and specialist brands accounted for up to 57% of reported tobacco net revenue.
Total tobacco volumes in the three months to 31 December fell 3%, but the figure slumped to 9.1% when acquisitions in the US were accounted for, with 4.4% of the decline caused by the end of trading in Syria and the continued conflict in Iraq.
CEO Alison Cooper said: “We continued to make good progress against our strategic objectives in the first quarter and are well placed to meet full-year expectations.
“We are further sharpening our focus on quality revenue growth and have advanced the simplification of our portfolio and prioritisation of profitable volume.”
Specialist brands, including premium cigars, grew revenues 37% thanks to acquisitions.
Fontem Ventures “gained traction” with its Blu e-cigarette brand, Imperial added, strengthening its position in the US and establishing itself as the number two brand in the UK.