Imperial Tobacco's volume decline steepens in third quarter

LONDON Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:17am EDT

LONDON Aug 15 (Reuters) - Imperial Tobacco Group said its volumes fell by 7 percent in the first nine months as it continued to be hurt by austerity measures, rising unemployment and illicit trade in Europe.

The British company, which makes Gauloises, Davidoff, West and JPS cigarettes, said its reported stick equivalent volume declined 7 percent, against 5.9 percent in the first half, while reported revenue was down 3 percent.

Chief Executive Alison Cooper said the group's full-year expectations remained unchanged.

The group said in April that growth in its earnings per share would be towards the lower end of its 4-8 percent target range.

Imperial's shares have fallen 9 percent since the start of the year, underperforming its bigger rival BAT by 19 percent.

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