Imperial Brands continues to perform in line with its five-year strategy launched in 2021, the company announced in a trading update.
“Focused investment in our top five combustible markets, which account for around 70 percent of adjusted operating profit, has driven an increase in aggregate market share for those markets,” the company wrote. “Gains in the U.S., U.K. and Australia more than offset declines in Germany and Spain. These share gains were achieved while maintaining strong pricing discipline, and overall tobacco volumes are in line with expectations.”
According to Imperial Brands, consumers have responded positively to the pilots of its Pulze heated-tobacco system in Greece and the Czech Republic and an improved consumer marketing proposition for its Blu vapor product in the U.S. “We are making good progress against our strategic objective of building a sustainable, consumer-centric next-generation product (NGP) business, and we will provide an update on our next steps at the interim results,” the company wrote.
Imperial Brands expects first-half NGP revenues to be slightly ahead of the prior period, driven by growth in Europe.
“We are on track to deliver full-year results in line with our revised guidance issued on 15 March, with expected full-year net revenue growth of around 0 [percent to] 1 percent on a constant currency basis and adjusted operating profit growth of around 1 percent,” Imperial said.
The company expects first-half group adjusted operating profit to grow by around 2 percent on a constant currency basis, benefiting primarily from reduced losses in NGP. “As expected, tobacco performance will be weighted to the second half,” the company wrote. “First-half tobacco operating profit will be broadly flat on last year on a constant currency basis, with increased investment behind our strategy offsetting the benefit of reduced U.S. litigation costs compared to last year.”
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Imperial Brands is continuing negotiations with a local third party about an orderly transfer of its Russian assets and operations as a going concern.