Imperial Tobacco sales boosted by price rises

LONDON, Sept 20 Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:15am EDT

LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Price increases helped lift Imperial Tobacco's annual revenues to offset a dip in volumes as the world's fourth largest cigarette group suffered in recession-hit Spain and tough markets in Ukraine and Poland.

The British group, which sells over 340 billion cigarettes annually of brands such as Gauloises, Davidoff, West and JPS, said on Thursday that its revenues would rise around 4 percent for the year to end-September when stripping out currency fluctuations, while overall volumes fell up to 3 percent.

It added that growth was particularly strong in eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East and also in its Asia Pacific region, but volumes were hit by weakness in Ukraine and Poland, and trade sanctions against Syria as well as a weak Spain.

The group said its operating performance and financial position were in line with its expectations as it gave a trading update towards the end of its financial year to Sept. 30 and ahead of its annual results due on Oct. 30.