BAT volumes hit by tough times in Brazil

LONDON Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:30am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - British American Tobacco (BATS.L) posted a drop off in nine-month volumes at the world's number 2 cigarette maker due to less demand in markets including Brazil, Japan, Italy, Turkey and Egypt.

The London-based group, which makes Kent, Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes, on Wednesday said it still expected another year of good earnings growth however as group revenue for the nine months grew by 4 percent at constant currency, helped by good pricing.

Group volumes from subsidiaries were down 1.2 percent to 517 billion, while organic volumes were 1.8 per cent lower as a result of the industry volume decline.

The group was also hit by a tough comparison from the one-off increase in sales volumes in Japan and a significant excise increase in Brazil which has led to a rise in illicit trade.

"Economic recovery remains fragile this year and difficult trading conditions persist in many parts of the world," Chief Executive Nicandro Durante said.

"However, pricing remains strong, we are growing underlying market share and our Global Drive Brands continue to perform well. The trading performance of the group is good and we are on track for another year of good earnings growth."

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Paul Sandle)

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