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Smokers cut back in economic downturn

THE world's second-largest tobacco group yesterday said it sold fewer cigarettes as smokers cut back their consumption in the economic downturn.

British American Tobacco added that a rise in illegal trade in countries including South Africa, Turkey and Malaysia also impacted volumes, which dropped by 1pc to 526 billion cigarettes in the nine months to September 30.

This equated to a 3pc drop in underlying sales. The company, which has more than 250 brands in its portfolio, said floods in Pakistan and increases in duty on cigarettes across the world were also to blame for the decline.

Boots delighted to expand presence

BOOTS Ireland has opened a new store on Childers Road, Co Limerick, bringing the number of Boots stores in Ireland to 56, it was announced yesterday. "We are delighted to further extend our Irish store portfolio to open a third Boots store in Limerick and look forward to offering our customers an extensive product range and excellent standards of customer care," said Richard Bradley, regional manager, Boots Ireland.

Deutsche Bank reports €1.2bn loss

GERMANY'S largest bank, Deutsche Bank, has reported a third-quarter loss linked to its planned purchase of Deutsche Postbank. It reported a pre-tax loss of €1.2bn in the quarter, hit by a €2.3bn charge connected to the Postbank deal. Excluding the Postbank costs, net profit for the quarter was €1.1bn. Deutsche Bank owns a 30pc stake in Postbank and wants to take full control by buying the remaining shares. Postbank's shareholders have until November 4 to sell their stakes at €25 a share.

Policymakers 'blind to banking crisis'

POLICYMAKERS could and should have been more alert to the vulnerabilities that were building up before the banking crisis and credit crunch, Bank of England deputy governor Charlie Bean said yesterday. The same lesson applies to financial companies, the economist said in London. Mr Bean said: "It is somewhat analogous to seismologists trying to predict earthquakes along a fault line. It is impossible to predict the day and magnitude with any precision, but it may be possible to say something about the likelihood of an earthquake occurring within a given period from seismic measurements." Had the Bank of England assessed the likelihood of a crisis triggering contraction as large as Britain's 6pc slump, it is likely that its economists would have put the chances as "virtually negligible", Mr Bean said.

GSK whistleblower awarded $96m

A WHISTLEBLOWER who exposed serious contamination problems at GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) pharmaceutical manufacturing operations has been awarded $96m (€70m). Cheryl Eckard's payment is thought to be the biggest ever handed to a US whistleblower. It was awarded after an eight-year fight that ended yesterday when GSK agreed to pay the US government $750m to settle civil and criminal charges that it manufactured and sold adulterated drug products.

Irish Independent