Imperial's Altadis raises Spain tobacco prices

MADRID Tue May 10, 2011 3:17am EDT

MADRID May 10 (Reuters) - Altadis, a unit of British group Imperial Tobacco (IMT.L), said on Tuesday it has raised the prices of its leading brands in Spain by 10 euro cents ($0.14).

Imperial Tobacco, the world's fourth-biggest cigarette maker, said on Tuesday half-year earnings beat forecasts though the Spanish market remained difficult due to a wider-ranging smoking ban in place since January and a weak economy. [ID:nLDE74512S]

A December duty rise and soaring unemployment, which has prompted cash-strapped smokers to downgrade to cheaper brands, have also weighed on Spanish earnings, the British group said.

Altadis said it has increased the cost of its main blonde tobacco brands Fortuna and Nobel in Spain to 3.85 euros per pack of 20 cigarettes from, 3.75 euros, while black tobacco Ducados prices were lifted to 3.95 euros from 3.85 euros. (Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Dan Lalor) ($1 = 0.7000 euro)