Imperial Brands helped by price rises in first half

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Imperial Brands PLC (LON:IMB) has kept its guidance for the year unchanged even though the tobacco group posted strong first half numbers.

Reported revenues for the half-year to end-March 2021 improved 6.1% to £15.5bn, with a 3.5% rise on an adjusted basis.

Pre-tax profits were £2.06bn (£785mln), though on an underlying basis improved by 8.6% to £1.58bn.

The John Player and Gauloises group said price rises of 6.5% in its cigarette business helped offset further volume declines of 3.3%.

New products (NGP)  – such as vaping and heated tobacco- also started to recover with revenues up by 16%.

Stefan Bomhard, new chief executive, said that in tobacco market share was stabilising in its top five priority markets while the NGP performance had improved against a weak comparator period.

Market trials in vapour and heated tobacco are scheduled for later this year, he added.

The interim dividend rises by 1% to 42.12p.

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