British American Tobacco Plc (BATS), Europe’s largest cigarette maker, said first-half operating profit rose 12 percent as higher prices offset a decline in shipments.
Adjusted profit from operations rose to 2.76 billion pounds ($4.5 billion) from 2.46 billion pounds a year earlier, the London-based company said in a statement today. That beat the 2.67 billion-pound median estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales increased 2 percent to 7.44 billion pounds.
The maker of Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes has increased prices to offset declining tobacco consumption. The global cigarette market excluding China, which is largely closed to foreign tobacco companies, will probably shrink by 2.5 percent in volume this year, Chief Executive Officer Nicandro Durante said in February.
BAT is “pretty confident” the full-year operating margin will exceed 35 percent, Chief Financial Officer Ben Stevens said in a Cantos interview on the company’s website.