Imperial’s volumes down in first quarter

The Imperial Tobacco Group saw stick equivalent (cigarettes and roll-your-own) volumes during the three months to the end of last year fall by seven per cent on those of October-December 2010.

As part of a management interim statement issued ahead of its annual general meeting today, Imperial reported that three per cent of the decline was due to the ongoing impact of international sanction compliance in Syria and double digit market volume declines in Spain.

Imperial Tobacco

Imperial Tobacco Corporation Responsibility

It said a further three per cent of the decline related to trade stock levels around a price increase in the US and distributor destocking in Ukraine.

‘Underlying’ stick equivalent volumes, which exclude the effects of the factors outlined, were down by one cent.

Tobacco net revenues, which benefited from a strengthening price mix, declined by one per cent before adjusting for these factors. Underlying tobacco net revenues increased three per cent.

“Our continued focus on realising opportunities from our total tobacco portfolio supported by innovation and price optimisation has delivered underlying tobacco net revenue growth of three per cent in the first quarter,” said chief executive, Alison Cooper, in commenting on the announcement.

Combined stick equivalent volumes of the company’s key strategic brands – Davidoff, Gauloises Blondes, West and JPS – were up by three per cent, with net revenues up by 10 per cent, she added.

Meanwhile, Imperial reported that it was continuing to capitalise on the ‘considerable growth potential’ of its luxury Cuban cigar portfolio, with excellent performances in Russia and China driving emerging market volumes up 14 per cent.

Snus volumes were said to have increased by 76 per cent.

Imperial confirmed that the overall financial position and operational performance of the group for the financial year to September 30 was in line with the board’s expectations.

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