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British American Tobacco stands by full-year target

British American Tobacco stands by full-year target
FILE PHOTO: People walk past the British American Tobacco offices in London, Britain October 21, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth   -   Copyright  Stefan Wermuth(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – British American Tobacco <BATS.L>, the world’s second-biggest international tobacco company by revenue, stood by its full-year forecast on Wednesday.

The maker of Lucky Strike and Dunhill cigarettes said it still plans to exceed its target for high single-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share for 2018, excluding a currency impact of around 6 percent.

Adjusted revenue and operating profit growth will be weighted towards the second half of the year, it said, fuelled by market share gains in cigarettes and growth in e-cigarettes and tobacco-heating devices.

BAT reiterated that those cigarette alternatives would reach 900 million pounds of revenue this year.

In the United States, a key market for BAT, volume is in line with expectations, with industry-wide volume of cigarettes expected to fall 4 to 4.5 percent this year, it said.

The company’s shares have fallen nearly 47 percent this year, due largely to uncertainty around the regulation of menthol cigarettes in the United States, a market that BAT is big in. The company on Wednesday said it was “well placed to manage US regulatory proposals” and that it was “constructively engaging” regulators.

It said its deleveraging remained on track, and that its net debt to adjusted EBITDA would be around 3.9 times by the end of 2018, at current exchange rates.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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