British American Tobacco reported a loss of £15.75 billion for 2023. The company’s results were heavily impacted by its decision last year to write down the value of some its traditional cigarette brands in the United States to reflect the diminishing outlook for combustible tobacco products.
Revenue was £27.28 billion, dragged by the sale of its businesses in Russia and Belarus, foreign-exchange pressures and lower cigarette volumes, and partially offset by the increased new categories revenue, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Revenue from ‘new categories’ rose to £3.35 billion, up 21 percent from 2022 on an organic basis.
“2023 was another year of resilient financial performance and delivery in line with our guidance, underpinned by our global footprint and multi-category strategy, despite a challenging macro-environment, said BAT CEO Tadeu Marroco in a statement.
“New categories delivered continued volume-led revenue growth and increased profitability, driven by Vuse and Velo. As a result, our new categories portfolio has turned profitable two years ahead of our original target.
“In combustibles, our commercial plans in the U.S. are enabling early signs of portfolio recovery.” The company’s Africa and Middle East business performed well in 2023, as did BAT’s Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa region, according to Marroco, who credited strong revenue and profit performance, along with a well-balanced portfolio.
During the presentation of BAT’s results, Marocco also suggested the company would sell some it shareholding in ITC, the Indian consumer goods giant that makes much of its revenue from cigarettes but also runs hotels and a paper business, among other operations.
Such a sale would allow BAT to pay down debt and accelerate toward the leverage range at which it could resume the share buybacks that some investors have been pressing for. BAT owns approximately one-third of ITC and would need to retain 25 percent to keep its veto rights.
In related news, BAT announced that it has submitted an modified risk tobacco product application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make certain health claims about its Glo Hyper Pro tobacco heating device, which the company launched in Japan, Italy and Poland earlier this year.