Imperial Tobacco earnings rise 8 pct

Imperial Tobacco, one of the largest cigarette group, earning 8% annual, growth by its key brands.

The British firm, which are selling more then 340 billion of cigarettes brands , said to ajut earnings to 2010 and share till the end of the year.

British firm increase its annual dividend by 11%, boosting its payout ratio from earning to 52,5%.

Revenue grew from 4% to 7 billion pounds, however, reflecting the group’s aim to counter Europe’s downturn by offering economy-brand cigarettes, such as JPS, Lambert & Butler and roll-your-own products, while also raising prices for more affluent consumers in Western Europe and the United States.

We see important growth opportunities in our rest of the world region across Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East and Asia-Pacific and we’ll continue to invest to support sustainable growth, the firm said in a statement.

Overall stick equivalent volumes declined 3% in the period due to tough markets in Poland, Ukraine and compliance with international trade sanctions against Syria.

Its four key brands — up market Davidoff, mid-priced Gauloises Blondes and value brands West and JPS — saw annual volumes increase 7%. Its Gold Leaf and Golden Virginia fine cut business volumes were stable.

In Spain, where high unemployment and Austrian government measures have hit the market, the group said it would take a non-cash impairment charge of 4 billion pounds during the year due to the macro economic indicators.

Shares in the group closed at 2332 pence on Monday, valuing the business at around 25 billion pounds.

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