Better pricing boosted revenue 4 per cent to nearly GBP 16 billion (EUR 18.5 billion) and efficiency improvements helped raise operating profit 15 per cent to GBP 5.4 billion. "BAT delivered strong profit growth in 2012, achieved through good pricing and an outstanding improvement in operating margin, partially offset by adverse exchange rate movements, said BAT Chairman Richard Burrows.
Group volumes at 694 billion were down 1.6 per cent. The decline was 1.7 per cent excluding the impact of acquisitions and an extraordinary rise in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, when foreign suppliers stepped in to offset lost domestic production.
Lucky Strike volume increased 11 per cent last year. BATís four key brands, rounded out by Dunhill, Kent and Pall Mall, posted a 3 per cent volume increase and accounted for a larger share of the global market, BAT said.
Fine-cut tobacco volume rose 8 per cent to 14,494 tonnes in Western Europe, indicating a shift from manufactured to roll-your-own cigarettes. (ci)