By Joe Hoppe
British American Tobacco PLC on Friday said first-half pretax profit rose on the back of a strong performance in its primary markets and despite the coronavirus.
The tobacco company posted a pretax profit of 4.59 billion pounds ($6.01 billion) in the first half compared with GBP3.87 billion the prior year, and beating market expectations of GBP4.33 billion. Revenue rose 0.8% to GBP12.27 billion.
The company attributed its performance to a strong performance in developed markets--which represent 75% of its adjusted revenue--and a growing cigarette and tobacco-heating product market share in emerging markets. It added that it benefited from a strong cigarette price mix of 8.5%, which offset overall lower cigarette sales and tobacco-heating product sales which fell 6.3%.
BAT backed its earlier guidance of a fall in fiscal 2020 adjusted revenue of 3% in the wake of the coronavirus, and constant currency adjusted diluted earnings per share growth in the mid-single digits.
Chief Executive Jack Bowles said the business is performing well in difficult circumstances and has been able to rapidly adapt to the current environment.
The board declared an interim dividend payment of 52.6 pence a share.
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