British American Tobacco ups payout despite smoking slump

British American Tobacco

Smoking is on the decline in western Europe and the USA, but cigarettes powerhouse BAT is still able to fire up rewards to shareholders.

British America Tobacco, the outfit behind brands such as Dunhill, Kent and Lucky Strike, did share buybacks of £750 million last year and plans to raise that amount in 2012. The full-year dividend also rises 11% to 126.5p.

The tobacco company, which made 705 billion cigarettes last year, has seen smoking decline in western Europe and North America and offset that with higher prices and by making gains from growth in developing markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Romania and Russia.

Chairman Richard Burrows said: “The economic climate around the world is far from settled but we remain confident that our strategy should continue to generate growth for our shareholders in the years ahead.”

British American Tobacco has not been immune from tough economies.

British American Tobacco

Tobacco giant British American Tobacco

Higher prices meant that while underlying global volumes fell 0.4% last year, revenue rose 3% to £14.4 billion.

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