BAT benefits as smokers try top brands


LONDON: Growing demand for premium brand cigarettes in developing countries is helping British American Tobacco (BAT) to cope with falling sales in Western markets, higher taxes and a rise in black market trading.

The world's second-biggest cigarette maker, which generates almost 70% of its profits in emerging markets, met forecasts yesterday with a 7% rise in 2012 adjusted earnings as higher profit margins made up for falling volumes.

“The key lever is the price mix,” Kingsley Wheaton, director of corporate and regulatory affairs, said, pointing to a move by some consumers towards its premium brands such as Kent and Dunhill Fine Cut.

BAT, whose brands also include Lucky Strike and Pall Mall, sold 694 billion cigarettes in 2012, down 1.6% on 2011. Reuters

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