By Adam Clark
Imperial Brands PLC (IMB.LN) said Tuesday that its fiscal 2017 pretax profit rose on the back of reduced finance costs and net revenue growth that topped analysts' forecasts.
The tobacco company made a profit of 1.86 billion pounds ($2.44 billion) for its financial year ended Sept. 30, up from GBP907 million the year before after benefiting from substantially lower finance costs.
Stripping out such costs, Imperial Brands' operating profit increased to GBP2.28 billion from GBP2.23 billion.
Net tobacco revenue--deducting duty and similar items--amounted to GBP7.76 billion, up from GBP7.17 billion in fiscal 2016. Consensus forecasts had seen revenue of GBP7.70 billion.
The company said that increased investment impacted its current-year revenue and profit figures, but that it sees improved sales going forward from both tobacco and next-generation products.
Imperial Brands expects to roll out e-vapor launches and consumer trials of heated-tobacco products in the current financial year.
In fiscal 2017, total tobacco volume fell 4.1% to 265.2 billion stick-equivalents--a measure of the amount of tobacco in a single cigarette. However, Imperial Brands said its growth brands increased sales by 5.5%, with an 80-basis-point improvement in market share.
Imperial Brands declared a full-year dividend per share of 170.7 pence, up from 155.2 pence. The company said it continues to target growth in constant-currency revenue and in earnings per share within its medium-term guidance.
Write to Adam Clark at [email protected]; @AdamDowJones