Monday 23 April 2018

Imperial gearing up for vaping push

The company said it will press ahead with new e-vapour launches in new and existing markets.

Imperial Tobacco Group
Imperial Tobacco Group

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Imperial Brands has signalled it is “stepping up” its expansion into the vaping market as the tobacco industry comes under pressure from falling cigarette sales.

The company, which owns the blu e-cigarette brand, said it will press ahead with new e-vapour launches in new and existing markets and consumer trials of “heated tobacco products” as it looks to cash in on “significant growth opportunities”.

“E-vapour remains our priority: in our view this is by far the largest next generation product opportunity and we believe it offers the greatest current potential for long-term sustainable growth,” the group added.

Imperial, behind Davidoff and Lambert and Butler cigarettes, is the latest in a long line of tobacco firms searching for additional revenue streams as traditional cigarette consumption continues to fall.

The company sold 265.2 billion cigarettes last year, a decline of 4.1%.

The firm made the vaping announcement alongside full-year results which saw revenue nudge up from £7.17 billion to £7.76 billion.

However, the figures were flattered by foreign exchange fluctuations and sales were in fact down 2.6% on a constant currency basis.

Pre-tax profit came in at £1.86 billion, up from £907 million, after it reaped the benefit of lower finance costs.

Operating profit rose from £2.23 billion to £2.28 billion.

Boss Alison Cooper said: “As anticipated, whilst the increased investment impacted current year revenue and profit, it is strengthening the business to support improved top-line growth going forward from both tobacco and next generation products.

“We will also be stepping up our activities in next generation products, with new e-vapour launches in new and existing markets and consumer trials of heated tobacco products. We have continued to take decisive cost action to mitigate a tough trading environment and to protect our investments.”

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