Despite government efforts to curb smoking, British American Tobacco (BAT) increased the number of cigarettes it sold in 2016 slightly to 665-billion.
Though only 0.2% more than in 2015, BAT said it achieved this while the overall cigarette market suffered a 3% decline in volumes.
BAT shareholders will receive a final dividend of 118.1p, taking the total for 2016 to 169.4p, a 10% increase from the previous year.
But shareholders appeared to disagree with chairperson Richard Burrows’s comment that “the group delivered exceptional earnings, volume and market share growth”, by sending its share price down 1.6% to R801, after the results were released on Thursday morning.
The group’s overall revenue grew 12.6% to £14.75bn and operating profit 2.2% to £4.66bn.
In Australia – the country at the forefront of forcing cigarette companies to sell their products in plain packaging – BAT said its “market share returned to growth, driven by Rothmans”.
Rothmans appears to be the group’s best-performing brand, increasing volumes sold by 36.9% and market share 70 basis points. The result said this was driven by sales in Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Nigeria, Turkey and South Korea.
Dunhill’s overall market share was flat. Volume fell 3.3%, driven mainly by industry declines in Malaysia and Brazil, more than offsetting growth in South Korea, Romania and the continued growth in Indonesia.
Kent volume increased 1%, with market share up 10 basis points, driven by Chile, Turkey and Japan.
Lucky Strike grew market share, higher by 10 basis points, and volume, up 13.5%, with growth in Indonesia, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany and Croatia, more than offsetting lower volume in Argentina and Russia.
Pall Mall market share grew 10 basis points, with volume marginally higher than in the prior year as growth in Venezuela, Poland, Mexico and Romania more than offset reductions in Pakistan and the migration to Rothmans in Italy.