Imperial Tobacco Earnings Rise

Increases driven by pricing and emerging markets

BRISTOL, U.K. -- Imperial Tobacco Group Plc said full- year earnings rose 1.2%, due to price increases in Germany and increased sales to smokers in eastern Europe and Asia.

Adjusted operating profit in the 12 months ended Sept. 30 climbed to 3.1 billion pounds ($5 billion) from 3.07 billion pounds a year earlier, at the Bristol, England-based company, according to Bloomberg.

The company is getting more business from emerging markets such as Russia and Vietnam, tempering the impact of lower consumption in Spain and North America. Price increases also contributed to growth and will boost profit again in the new fiscal year, said CEO Alison Cooper said in a statement last week.

The Spanish market is “more stable” as prices have recovered, the company said, though it still expects “some decline” in the country next year.

The total volume of tobacco sold by Imperial Tobacco during the year fell 1.5 percent, while total shipments of the Davidoff, Gauloises Blondes, West and JPS brands gained 4%.

Imperial Tobacco anticipates capital spending next year of 350 million pounds to 400 million pounds, according to Cooper. The company also expects to introduce its next new product in 2012, she said, without providing details.

Imperial Tobacco may make further acquisitions if the potential purchases meet strategic criteria, Cooper said. Finance Director Bob Dyrbus said in May that the company has “scope” for acquisitions, according to the Bloomberg report. Purchases will be smaller than in the past, he said at the time. Imperial paid 15.5 billion euros for Altadis and $1.9 billion for Commonwealth Brands.

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