British American Tobacco (BATS.L), the world’s second-biggest tobacco group, guided toward an acceleration in revenue in the second half of the year as it reported higher earnings and sales in the first half due to a “continued strong” performance of combustibles.
Reported sales increased by 4.6% to 12.17 billion pounds ($14.82 billion) during the six months that ended June 30, from 11.64 billion pounds a year ago, the London-based firm said in its earnings statement. Revenue adjusted for currency effects, among other things, was up 4.1% and in line with the firm’s guidance.
Group turnover rose on “good” price/mix across the cigarette portfolio, as well as growth in revenue from new categories of products and traditional oral more than offset lower cigarette volume. New Categories adjusted revenue grew 27% with growth in all categories, and was on track, in 2019, to reach the middle of the group’s stated 30-50% growth range per year through 2023/24.
The volume of vapour consumables soared 32% in the first half, with “significant” growth of Alto in the US, ePen3 in Europe and North Africa and ePod in Canada. Tobacco Heating Products also reported a 17% jump in consumable volume.
In line with internal guidance and stronger sales, adjusted diluted earnings jumped by 7.1% to 149.3 pence per share, from 146.9 pence from a year earlier. At constant currency, the increase was 8.8%, with the company noting that a 110 basis-point increase in the adjusted operating margin was despite a “significantly increasing” investment in new categories.