BAT confident on earnings outlook after good start to year

LONDON, April 25 Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:21am EDT

LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - British American Tobacco said it was confident it would grow earnings this year after it reported a 1 percent rise in volumes of its premium brands like Kent and Lucky Strike in the first three months of 2013.

The world's second biggest cigarette maker said on Thursday that revenue grew by 5 percent, measured in constant rates of exchange, in the first quarter.

The company, which also makes Dunhill Fine Cut and Pall Mall, said total tobacco volumes fell by 3.4 percent, with cigarette volumes from subsidiaries decreasing by 3.7 percent to 160 billion.

Chief executive Nicandro Durante said it was a good performance against a backdrop of fragile economic conditions persisting in many parts of the world.

"It is a good start and I remain confident of another year of earnings growth in line with our long term strategic goals," he said on Thursday.

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