British American Tobacco year earnings rise despite volumes slide

LONDON Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:17am EST

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LONDON Feb 28 (Reuters) - British American Tobacco the world's second-biggest cigarette maker, reported a 7 percent rise in earnings in 2012, broadly in line with market expectations.

The maker of Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes reported adjusted earnings per share of 207.5 pence per share on Thursday.

That compared with a forecast of 206.6 pence, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates.

The company said operating margin had improved in all its four operating regions, but overall volume shrank 1.6 percent as its largest markets contracted.

It said it would buy back 1.5 billion pounds ($2.3 billion)of shares in 2013, following on from a 1.25 billion pound buyback last year.

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